This portrait was painted just before Ingres’s departure for Rome in September 1806. The bust-length likeness of the baron is carefully described within a triangular silhouette that descends from the soft curls of the subject’s head to his blue-black coat. Within this outline, one sees Ingres’s unswerving attention to detail and local color tempered subtly by his attempt to idealize the subject, who makes a vivid impression with his gaze. The sinuous rhythms defined by the multiple white collars and the cravat provide additional animation. As in other portraits of this early period, Ingres shows the impeccably attired baron standing before a vast sky punctuated with soft and airy clouds, a romantic conceit with precedents that date back to the Renaissance, but which serves here as a foil to the calm and secure expression of the subject.
Baron Vialètes was an avid collector and patron of the arts. Elected mayor of Montauban, Ingres’s hometown in southwest France, his appointment may have occasioned this portrait. In 1843 the baron founded the city museum, which later became the Musée Ingres.
- Artist Name: Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780-1867)
- Title: Baron Joseph-Pierre Vialetès de Mortarieu
- Date: 1805-1806
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 24-1/8 x 19-3/4 in. (61.2 x 50.2 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1983.03.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
His heir, sold c. 1905 (to a dealer in Biarritz, presumably);
[Delas, Biarritz], in 1929, or [Dufor-Quercy, Montauban and Biarritz];
Private Collection, France by 1956;
[Galerie Schmit, Paris/Sarec, S.A., Geneva by 1979, sold 10 December 1981, though E. V. Thaw, to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
Exposition des beaux-arts
- Montauban, Hôtel de Ville, 1862-05 to
Vigne, Georges, Ingres, fig. 31 p. 48
Delaborde, Henri, Ingres. Sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine, no. 159
Museo Nacional del Prado, Ingres, fig. 77 p. 134
Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch, nos. 32-34, 52, 56, 58, 69, 546, fig. 52 pp. 33-34, 43
Lapauze, Henry, Le roman d'amour de M. Ingres, p. 150
Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, cat. 1706 p. 438
Bajou-Charpentreau, Valérie, Monsieur Ingres, fig. 33 p. 62
Lapauze, Henry, Ingres, sa vie et son oeuvre (1780-1867) d'aprés des documents inédits, pp. 41, 47, 54
Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, p. 111
Wildenstein, Georges, Ingres, no. 39, fig. 24
Constant, Benjamin, Adolphe, Oxford World's Classics, cover (detail)
Radius, Emilio and Ettore Camesasca, L'opera completa di Ingres, no. 39 p. 90
Pomarède, Vincent; Stéphane Guégan and Louis-Antoine Prat, Ingres 1780-1867, ill. 78 pp. 84, 105, 129
Gazette des Beaux-Arts, no. 192 p. 31
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