Ingres made portraits of his contemporaries all his life. Whether working in oil on canvas or graphite on paper, he brought painstaking concentration to the task, creating likenesses of stunning verisimilitude. Nathalie Gallois was a cousin of Ingres's second wife Delphine Ramel, whom he married in 1852. With customary ease and the touch of a pencil, Ingres presents his bourgeois relative with patrician finery, detailing the folds and ruffles of her elegant dress. Sparing no adornments, Ingres has highlighted Nathalie's jewelry in gold paint and traced the lacey hair ornament with meticulous precision. The sitter's porcelain skin and comely expression made the drawing a perfect gift for Monsieur Gallois, as detailed in the artist's affectionate inscription.
Signature: Signed, dated and inscribed in graphite at the lower left: J. Ingres Del. / à Son cher cousin / et ami Monsieur / Gallois-- / 1852" [J. Ingres drew (this) / for his dear cousin / and friend Monsieur / Gallois-- / 1852]
Félix Gallois (husband of the sitter [1812-1891]); the Marquis de Biron, by 1911; Biron sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 9-11 June 1914, lot 35; to [Paulme]; Maurice Fenaille, by 1931; his daughter Madame François de Panafieu, née Antoinette Fenaille, Paris; Panafieu sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 9 February 1959 (postponed to 23 June 1959), lot 7; [Arthur Goldschmidt (?), Paris]; to [Marianne Feilchenfeldt, Zürich]. Acquired by Robert Lehman from Feilchenfeldt in October 1960.