An avid collector of the arts, Baron Vialetès is carefully described within a triangular silhouette that descends from his soft curly hair to his blue-black coat. His election in 1805 as mayor of Montauban, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’s hometown in southwest France, may have occasioned this portrait. The medals on his coat indicate his prestigious membership in France’s Legion of Honor and Spain’s Order of King Charles lll, the two highest orders of merit in each country.
Depicted against a vast and tranquil sky, the baron makes a vivid impression with his focused gaze. However, the allure of his handsome face belies the subtle distortions of his facial features. His eyes are unevenly sized, his nose is sharply bent and his left eyebrow is unnaturally long. Exaggerated proportions like these are a common feature of Ingres’s portraiture. They allowed the artist to craft an idiosyncratic likeness for each sitter, while simultaneously subverting conventions of ideal beauty.
- 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
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- Wildenstein, Georges, Ingres,no. 39, fig. 24
- Constant, Benjamin, Adolphe, Oxford World's Classics, cover (detail)
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