Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Portrait of Guillaume Guillon Lethière (1760-1832)
Pencil on wove paper.
11 x 9 3/4 inches (280 x 231 mm)
Bequest of Therese Kuhn Straus in memory of her husband, Herbert N. Straus.

Watermark: none.
Born in Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe, in 1760, Guillaume Guillon-Lethière was the illegitimate child of a king's prosecutor and a freed Black slave. After displaying a youthful aptitude for draftsmanship, he moved to Paris at the age of fourteen and eventually established himself as a formidable history painter. After securing influential allies, such as Lucien Bonaparte, he was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome. Ingres was beginning his second year as a pensionnaire when Lethière arrived in October 1807. From 1808 to 1818, Ingres executed no fewer than ten portraits of Lethière, including this virtuoso sheet depicting the middle-aged director in all of his convivial pomposity.


Inscribed at lower right, "M. de Ingres / a Madlle Lescot".
A signature, now erased, still legible beneath the dedication, "Ingres rome 1815".

Mlle Hortense Lescot, later Mme Louis-Pierre Haudebourt; Adrien Fauchier-Magnan; private collection, Paris; sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Salle 7, 13 November 1922, lot 12, repr.; Mr. and Mrs. Herbert N. Straus, New York.
Associated names: 

Lescot, Hortense, Mlle, former owner.
Fauchier-Magnan, Adrien, former owner.
Straus, Herbert, former owner.
Straus, Therese Kuhn, former owner.


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