Support: Cream wove paper
Sheet: 32.1 x 24 cm (12 5/8 x 9 7/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1927.437
Catalogue raisonné: Naef 334
Ingres paid close attention to his sitter's costume: a fashionable open coat and dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves.
While living in Rome, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres began making commissioned graphite portraits as a way of providing additional income. He aspired to a career as a history painter, however, and made such works only as gifts for friends after achieving professional success. This sheet was a gift for its sitter's husband, a famous archaeologist to whom Ingres dedicated it at lower right. The subject of the drawing, Antoinette-Claude Houdon, was the youngest daughter of Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828), an important 18th-century French sculptor. Using the style he developed for such works, the artist drew in stark, confident lines, with no apparent erasing or correction.
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