Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780–1867) Portrait of Adolphe-Marcellin Defresne, 1825
Signed and dated in graphite at lower right, Ingres Del. 1825.
16 15/16 x 11 9/16 inches (428 x 292 mm)
Within a few short weeks following his return to
Paris in 1824, Ingres went from being one of the
most maligned artists of his generation to one
of the most celebrated. This reversal of fortune
allowed the artist to free himself from the self-
proclaimed drudgery of portraiture. He wrote,
"I don't want to do [portraits] any more . . . it's a
considerable waste of time, fruitless effort, given
the dryness of the subject matter." The majority of
his portrait drawings from this period were gifts to
friends and acquaintances, not commissioned works.
Pictured here is the handsome Adolphe-
Marcellin Defresne, knight of the Legion
d'Honneur and future secretary-general of the
Seine. Elegantly posed in a balletic posture and
holding a quill in his right hand, he leans on a tall
tilt-top desk befitting a gentleman of his station.
Ingres alternated between the use of lighter and
darker graphite, as seen in the emphatic line of
Defresne's collar versus the soft shading of his