This is an unfinished repetition, reduced in size and much simplified, of the celebrated Grande Odalisque of 1814 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), an imagined concubine in a Middle Eastern harem. The painting was central to Ingres’s conception of ideal beauty, and its influence was bolstered by his longevity: Ingres continued to paint nudes like this one as late as the 1860s, by which time he had trained hundreds of followers. Paintings in shades of gray—en grisaille—were often made to establish variations in tone as a guide to engravers of black and white reproductive prints, but the intended purpose of this work remains uncertain.
This painting is an unfinished repetition, reduced in size and much simplified, of the Grande Odalisque of 1814 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), a work that was central to Ingres’s conception of ideal beauty. It was executed in Paris between 1824 and 1834, a period bracketed by lengthy sojourns in Italy. Paintings in shades of gray, or grisaille, were often made to establish variations in tone as a guide to engravers of black and white reproductive prints. As this work has not been linked definitively to known reproductions of the Grande Odalisque, its intended purpose remains uncertain. From time to time it has been conjectured that some passages were executed by a hand other than the master’s, but since the early 1980s there has been agreement that the work is solely by Ingres. It was described in the posthumous inventory of his studio as “Odalisque, grisaille, ébauche” (Gresle 1867) and inherited by the artist’s widow.
The Grande Odalisque, painted in Rome, was commissioned by Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat in 1813 as a pendant to the Dormeuse de Naples (1808), which her husband Joachim Murat, king of Naples, had purchased in 1809. The Dormeuse, lost in the aftermath of the fall of Napoleon’s empire in 1815, showed a similar reclining figure seen from the front (Ingres later repeated the pose in the Odalisque with the Slave, now in the Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, painted in the 1830s for another friend, Marcotte d’Argenteuil). The Grande Odalisque remained undelivered when the Murats lost their throne in May 1815. Instead it was acquired by the comte de Pourtalès, who lent it to the Salon of 1819. After Ingres's triumphal return to Paris in 1824, he began to receive commissions for copies of some of his celebrated early compositions; he also established a teaching studio, and it is possible that the grisaille served a pedagogical function in that context.
The present work is one of at least five known reductions of the Grande Odalisque. There is a version dated 1817, whose first known owner was the sculptor baron Henri Triqueti (private collection; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 12, 1986). Another was made in 1824 as a gift for the painter comte Lancelot Théodore Turpin de Crissé (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Angers). In 1825–26, Ingres produced a version with a gray painted border that includes the word FATIMA in a cartouche, possibly for the collector Marie Jean-Baptiste Joseph Marcotte, called Marcotte Genlis (1781–1867; Musée Mahmoud Khalil, Cairo). In 1829, Ingres painted a miniature version for his friend Jean-François Gilibert (Jayne Wrightsman, New York). In 2013, a sixth version surfaced on the Paris art market (see Sharifzadeh 2013).
Asher Ethan Miller 2015
the artist, Paris (until his d. 1867; his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 27, 1867, no. 7, as "Odalisque," to Ingres); the artist's widow, Mme Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (Delphine Ramel), Paris (1867–at least 1870); her brother, Albert Ramel, Paris; Mme Albert Ramel, Paris (by 1921); her daughter, Mme Emmanuel Riant, née Ramel, Paris (until 1937); [Jacques Seligmann, Paris and New York, 1937–38; sold to MMA]
Paris. Hôtel de la Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition Ingres," May 8–June 5, 1921, no. 24 (as "Odalisque couchée," by Ingres, lent by Mme Albert Ramel).
New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European & American Paintings, 1500–1900," May–October 1940, no. 236 (as "Odalisque [Grisaille]," by Ingres).
Art Gallery of Toronto. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," December 15, 1948–January 31, 1949, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization," April 21–September 5, 1949, not in catalogue.
Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham Museum of Art. "Festival of the Seven Arts," January 25–February 22, 1953, no catalogue.
New York. Wildenstein. "Nude in Painting," November 1–December 1, 1956, no. 20 (as "Odalisque" [Grisaille], by Ingres).
University of California at Los Angeles Art Galleries. "French Masters: Rococo to Romanticism," March 5–April 18, 1961, no cat. number.
Houston. Rice Museum. "Gray is the Color," October 19, 1973–January 19, 1974, no. 62 (as "Odalisque in Grisaille").
Athens. National Pinakothiki, Alexander Soutzos Museum. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Memories and Revivals of the Classical Spirit," September 24–December 31, 1979, no. 85 (as "Odalisque").
Rochester, N.Y. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. "Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880," August 27–October 17, 1982, no. 54 (as "Odalisque in Grisaille").
Neuberger Museum, State University of New York at Purchase. "Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880," November 14–December 23, 1982, no. 54.
Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "Ingres, In Pursuit of Perfection: The Art of J.- A.- D. Ingres," December 6, 1983–January 29, 1984, no. 51.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Ingres, In Pursuit of Perfection: The Art of J.- A.- D. Ingres," March 3–May 6, 1984, no. 51.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ingres at the Metropolitan," December 13, 1988–March 19, 1989, no catalogue.
Yokohama Museum of Art. "Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century," March 25–June 4, 1989, no. 77.
Athens. National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum. "From El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 13, 1992–April 11, 1993, no. 37.
Musée de Cambrai. "Fantasme d'Ingres: Variations autour de la Grande Odalisque," June 26–October 30, 2004, no. 2 (as "La Grande Odalisque en grisaille").
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 4.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. "Französische Meisterwerke des 19. Jahrhunderts aus dem Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 1–October 7, 2007, unnumbered cat.
Paris. Galeries nationales du Grand Palais. "Picasso et les Maîtres," October 8, 2008–February 2, 2009, unnumbered cat. (p. 330).
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "Ingres," November 24, 2015–March 27, 2016, no. 20 (as "La gran odalisca en grisalla").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Kerry James Marshall Selects: Works from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017, no catalogue.
London. National Gallery. "Monochrome: Painting in Black and White," October 30, 2017–February 18, 2018, no. 28.
Düsseldorf. Museum Kunstpalast. "Black & White: Von Dürer bis Eliasson," March 22–July 15, 2018, no. 28.
Milan. Palazzo Reale. "Jean August Dominique Ingres e la vita artistica al tempo di Napoleone," March 12–June 23, 2019, no. 69.
M. Gresle. Inventory after the Death of J. A. D. Ingres, April 26, 1867. April 26, 1867, no. 6 [Archives Nationales, Paris; Getty no. F-226], as "Odalisque, grisaille, ébauche".
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Cahier X. n.d., fol. 23 [Wildenstein, New York; published in Georges Vigne, "Ingres," trans. John Goodman, New York, 1995, p. 327], one of "plusieurs petites répetitions" of "l'odalisque – la grande," under the heading "Mes ouvrages".
Henri Delaborde. Ingres: Sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine. Paris, 1870, p. 236, under no. 75, attributes it to Ingres; calls it a repetition in grisaille of the "Grande Odalisque" in the Louvre and notes that it belonged to Mme Ingres.
Henry Lapauze. Les Dessins de J.-A.-D. Ingres du Musée de Montauban. Paris, 1901, pp. 235, 248–49, publishes Ingres's Cahiers IX and X, which include several mentions of odalisques that may refer to the MMA painting, especially a "petite odalisque en grisaille" under the heading "Paris, 1824".
Emmanuel Riant. Letter. November 5, 1937, gives a complete history of the ownership of this painting.
James W. Lane. "Notes from New York." Apollo 28 (December 1938), pp. 301–2, dates it 1814; compares it to the Louvre painting.
Louise Burroughs. "Odalisque en Grisaille by Ingres." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 33 (October 1938), pp. 222–25, ill., states that this painting was made by Ingres as a study for the "Grande Odalisque" in the Louvre commissioned by Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, in 1813; mentions that this is the only known grisaille by Ingres.
Walter Pach. Ingres. New York, 1939, pp. 49, ill. opp. p. 67.
Dietrich von Bothmer. "The Classical Contribution to Western Civilization." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 7 (April 1949), p. 215, ill.
Josephine L. Allen and Elizabeth E. Gardner. A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1954, p. 50.
Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 1st ed. 1954, pp. 170–71, 178–79, 181, 210, 213, 230–31, no. 226, fig. 56.
Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 2nd revised ed. London, 1956, pp. 170–71, 178–79, 181, 210, 213, 230–31, no. 226, fig. 56.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, XIX Century. New York, 1966, pp. 7–9, ill., date it 1813–14; have no doubt that the MMA painting is the same one mentioned in Ingres's inventory of 1867 [see Ref. Ingres 1867]; remark that the figure in the "Sleeping Woman" (lost; known through a preparatory drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London) was small in relation to the background, as it is in this painting, concluding that the MMA painting may reflect Ingres's first idea for the pendant; suggest that the original intent might have been to paint a figure awake as a pendant to the sleeping figure.
Daniel Ternois inIngres. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1967, p. 103–104, ill., calls it a repetition of the "Grande Odalisque".
Anne Poulet in "Turquerie." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26 (January 1968), p. 236, no. 65, ill., posits that Ingres did not originally conceive of the figure as Oriental, citing a preparatory drawing in the Courtauld that shows only a reclining nude.
Ettore Camesasca inL'opera completa di Ingres. Milan, 1968, p. 97, no. 82d, ill., dates it 1824–34; calls it a replica in grisaille of the Louvre painting.
John L. Connolly Jr. "Ingres and the Erotic Intellect." Art News Annual Ed. Linda Nochlin and Thomas B. Hess., Woman as Sex Object, Studies in Erotic Art, 1730–1970, 38 (1972), pp. 21, 24 ill. [reprinted as Ref. Connolly 1974], believes that the two rapidly brushed circles in the lower right corner indicate a waterspout, and concludes that this detail is the remnant of a program that would have depicted the five senses, which Ingres changed in the final version in the Louvre.
John L. Hess. "Metropolitan Finds 'Odalisque' Not by Ingres; will Rehang Painting with a New Attribution." New York Times (January 17, 1973), p. 24.
John L. Hess. "'Odalisque' Back, Under a Cloud." New York Times (January 31, 1973), p. 26.
Andreas Freund. "Met's 'Odalisque' Termed Genuine." New York Times (February 3, 1973), p. 22.
Gray is the Color. Exh. cat., Rice Museum. Houston, 1973–74, pp. 20, 96–97, 165 n. 39–40, no. 62, ill., given the size of the painting, believes it is unlikely to have been made as a sketch for an engraving; notes that the picture contains awkward passages, particularly in the hands and feet, which are inconsistent with Ingres's style; concludes that this painting was either made by Ingres as a young man and assistants, or by Ingres's atelier with the inconsistencies in the work representing various stages of completion.
"'Odalisque' is Back on View at Met." New York Times (May 10, 1973), p. 54, ill., notes that as a result of its recent cleaning, the painting was attributed to Ingres and his workshop.
René Jullian. Letter to Monsieur [Everett Fahy]. February 25, 1974, suggests an attribution to Armand Cambon.
John L. Connolly Jr. "Ingres Studies: Antiochus and Stratonice; The Bather and Odalisque Themes." PhD diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1974, p. 44, pl. XII
Robert Rosenblum. Letter to Mimi Harris. September 30, 1976, believes that it was begun by Ingres and later worked on by one of his students who left it unfinished.
Jacques Foucart. Letter to Mary Ann W. Harris. July 15, 1976, calls it a weak copy.
James David Draper and Joan R. Mertens. Treasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Memories and Revivals of the Classical Spirit. Exh. cat., National Pinakothiki, Alexander Soutzos Museum. Athens, 1979, p. 226–27, no. 85, ill., attribute it to Ingres and workshop; call it a grisaille reduction with a few touches of color; remark that the features of Caroline Murat can be seen here, and propose that she could have wanted to commission a work similar to Canova's portrait of her sister Pauline Borghese (Galleria Borghese, Rome).
Donald A. Rosenthal. Orientalism: The Near East in French Painting 1800–1880. Exh. cat., Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. Rochester, N.Y., 1982, pp. 52–53, 157 n. 8, no. 54, ill., dates it about 1813–14, calls it a preliminary version in grisaille, and attributes it to Ingres.
Patricia Condon, Marjorie B. Cohn, and Agnes Mongan. Ingres, In Pursuit of Perfection: The Art of J.-A.-D. Ingres. Ed. Debra Edelstein. Exh. cat., J. B. Speed Art Museum. Louisville, 1983, pp. 126–28, 202, no. 51, fig. 2, colorpl. 51, dates it about 1824–34; believes it should be reattributed to Ingres, rather than his workshop, citing the fact that he claimed it as his own in his notebooks, kept it until his death, and bequeathed it to his wife; notes that Ingres was particularly interested in grisaille in the late 1820s.
Katharine Baetjer et al. inTreasures from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: French Art from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century. Exh. cat., Yokohama Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1989, pp. 130–31, ill. (color), calls it a repetition.
Deborah Krohn et al. inFrom El Greco to Cézanne: Masterpieces of European Painting from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., National Gallery Alexandros Soutzos Museum. Athens, 1992, pp. 16, 309, no. 37, ill. (color, overall and detail) [catalog section unpaginated], dates it about 1824.
Michael Kimmelman. "At the Met with Cindy Sherman: Portraitist in the Halls of Her Artistic Ancestors." New York Times (May 19, 1995), pp. C1, C7, ill. (installation view).
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 401, ill.
Michael Kimmelman. "At the Met with Chuck Close: Sought or Imposed, Limits Can Take Flight." New York Times (July 25, 1997), p. C23.
Michael Kimmelman. Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere. New York, 1998, pp. 155–56, 245–46, ill. [text similar to Kimmelman 1995, 1997].
Véronique Burnod. Fantasme d'Ingres: Variations autour de la Grande Odalisque. Exh. cat., Musée de Cambrai. Ghent, 2004, unpaginated, no. 2, ill. and on cover (both color).
Vincent Pomarède inIngres: 1780–1867. Ed. Vincent Pomarède et al. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2006, pp. 180, 385, fig. 137 (color).
Dimitri Salmon. Ingres: La Grande Odalisque. Paris, 2006, pp. 27, 37, fig. 23 (color), as by "Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres?"; notes that its dimensions are close to those of the Louvre picture; compares it to two of Ingres's earliest pencil drawings for the Louvre composition (both ca. 1813–14, Musée du Louvre, Paris, and Courtauld Institute of Art, London) but finds it more likely to correspond to the "Odalisque en grisaille" mentioned by the artist (see Ingres n.d.) than to a "première pensée" for the Louvre painting; remarks that some identify it as the model for Pierre Sudre's second lithograph of the subject (1826, private collection).
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 22, 222, no. 4, ill. (color and black and white).
Lilas Sharifzadeh. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres: Variations sur un thème – La Grande Odalisque – Découverte d'une réplique autographe / Variations on a subject – La Grande Odalisque – The discovery of an autograph replica. Exh. cat., Galerie Hubert Duchemin. Paris, 2013, pp. 19–20, fig. 8 (color), affirms that the "Odalisque in grisaille [incomplete]" mentioned in Ingres's Cahier X "probably corresponds to the canvas which belonged to Madame Ingres".
Samuel Montiège inBenjamin-Constant: Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism. Ed. Nathalie Bondil. Exh. cat., Musée des Augustins, Toulouse. Montreal, 2014, pp. 40, 42, 372, fig. 30 (color) [French ed., 2014], compares it to Benjamin-Constant's "Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist" (about 1895–98, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa) in their common use of grisaille as a pragmatic effort to facilitate inexpensive photomechanical reproduction.
Stéphane Guégan inIngres. Ed. Vincent Pomarède and Carlos G. Navarro. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2015, p. 174, no. 20, ill. p. 175 (color), calls it a subject for a liberated clientele; compares it to engravings that were widely reproduced around 1819.
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 430, no. 326, ill. pp. 338–39, 430 (color).
Lelia Packer Jennifer Sliwka. Monochrome: Painting in Black and White. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 2017, pp. 94–96, 102, 193, 221 n. 24, no. 28, ill. pp. 78, 95, and on cover (color, overall and details), suggest that since the painting stayed in the artist's studio until his death it must have had personal significance for Ingres.
Martin Gammon. Deaccessioning and Its Discontents: A Critical History. Cambridge, Mass., 2018, pp. 213, 401 n. 16.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres e la vita artistica al tempo di Napoleone. Ed. Stéphane Guégan and Florence Viguier-Dutheil. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale, Milan. Venice, 2019, p. 238, no. 69, fig. 3, ill. p. 191 (color, overall and detail), as "Grande odalisca (versione a grisaille)"; date it around 1830.
The Private Collection of Jayne Wrightsman. Christie's, New York. October 14, 2020, p. 59, under no. 44.
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Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)
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