In this rare group portrait, Ingres presents the three daughters of Austria’s ambassador to Rome, Prince Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg. The young women, portrayed at ages thirteen to seventeen, cluster gracefully around the piano. The setting is likely the family music room, where the Kaunitzes often hosted private concerts. Indeed, it may have been Ingres’s passion for music that first won him an invitation to the Kaunitz residence. In this drawing, the artist—already at the height of his powers as a graphic portraitist—delicately described the sisters’ faces, framed in curls and lacy collars. Such details evoke the discreet luxury of Empire fashion and the privileged, cultured world to which these sisters belonged.
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Title:The Kaunitz Sisters (Leopoldine, Caroline, and Ferdinandine)
Artist:Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)
Patron:commissioned by Prince Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg (Austrian Ambassador to Rome 1818)
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, in honor of Philippe de Montebello, 1998
Signature: Signed in graphite at lower left: Ingres Del.
Inscription: Dated in graphite at lower right: rome 1818; instructions to a framer inscribed in graphite by Ingres beneath a space left blank for the sitters' names: Partie dans le cadre [this portion (of the sheet) to be hidden by the picture frame]; formerly wrapped on a thin wood panel that bore an inscription, in ink, identifying the sitters.
Marking: At lower right: Anton Schmid collection stamp (Lugt 2330b).
Fürst and Fürstin van Kauntiz-Rietberg (Austrian); Fürstin von Kaunitz-Rietberg, until 1859; by descent, their daughers, ultimately Fürstin Anton Karl Pálffy (Austrian), until 1888; Nicolaus Pálffy, Schloss Marchegg, Austria, by 1931; his heirs; the Viennese collector Anton Schmid (Austrian), shortly after World War II-early 1960s; H. M. Calmann Gallery, London (British), between 1961 and 1966; Alfred Strölin (French), Paris, 1966-74; Bruno de Bayser (French), Paris; Mrs. Charles Wrightsman (American), New York, 1995-98; her gift in 1998 to the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (American)in honor of Philippe de Montebello
Kunsthalle Tübingen. "Ingres und Delacroix: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen," September 12, 1986–October 28, 1986.
Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels. "Ingres und Delacroix: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen," November 7, 1986–December 21, 1986.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," October 5, 1999–January 2, 2000.
Eva Steiner "An Unknown Drawing by J.A.D. Ingres." Old Master Drawings. vol. 6, June 1931, pp. 4-5.
Brinsley Ford "Ingres' Portrait Drawings of English People at Rome, 1806-1820." Burlington Magazine. vol. 75, July 1939, p. 7.
Hans Naef Ingres. Exh. cat., Petit Palais, Paris, October 27, 1967-January 29, 1968. Paris, 1967, p. 162, under no. 112.
Hans Naef Die Bildniszeichnungen von J.-A.-D. Ingres. 4 vols., Bern, 1977-1980, vol. 4, pp. 420-21, no. 224, and vol. 2, chap. 99, pp. 300-306.
Ernst Goldschmidt, Götz Adriani Ingres und Delacroix: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle, Tübingen, September 12-October 28, 1986; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, November 7-December 21, 1986. Cologne, 1986, cat. no. 22.
Gary Tinterow, Philip Conisbee, Christopher Riopelle, Hans Naef, Robert Rosenblum, Andrew Carrington Shelton, Georges Vigne, Rebecca A. Rabinow Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch. Exh. cat., National Gallery, London, January 27-April 25, 1999, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., May 23-August 22, 1999, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 5, 1999-January 2, 2000. New York, 1999, cat. no. 77, ill.
Carmen C. Bambach, Colta Ives, Perrin Stein, Nadine Orenstein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1998-1999." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 57, no. 2, Autumn 1999, p. 40, ill.
Everett Fahy, Pierre Rosenberg, Elizabeth E. Barker, George R. Goldner et al. The Wrightsman Pictures. New York and New Haven, 2005, cat. no. 84, ill.
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