Chantilly (Oise). Louis-Philippe, who reigned over the French from 1830 to 1848, was an art lover and his fifth son, Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, amassed a huge collection which he bequeathed to the Institut of France with the Chantilly estate, provided that the Condé Museum thus created is open to the public. Five paintings and a drawing by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) that are part of this set are at the heart of the exhibition here organized by the director of the institution, Mathieu Deldicque, and Nicole Garnier, the former head of the collections. who caressed this project since 2014. An excellent catalog accompanies it.
In nearly 110 works, the visitor walks through the artist’s career and discovers a lesser-known aspect of it: the deep bond he built with the Orléans family and the Orléanists. It was the Prince Royal, Ferdinand Philippe d’Orléans, eldest son of Louis-Philippe and heir to the throne, who first became attached to Ingres. He became his friend and ordered him in 1833 Antiochus and Stratonice. The painting will not be delivered until 1840 and, in the meantime, the prince acquires Oedipus explains the riddle of the Sphinx (1808-1827, Louvre). Executed in 1842, the Portrait of Ferdinand Philippe d’Orléans, Prince Royal (1842, Louvre) reveals all the physical and moral elegance of this liberal prince in whom many Frenchmen place their hopes. But the heir to the throne died in a horse-drawn carriage accident in July 1842. The portrait became his official image, reproduced several times by Ingres and his studio.
Stained glass boxes
Since he was the friend of their deceased child, Louis-Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie commissioned him to design the stained-glass windows for the Saint-Ferdinand chapel (1842-1843), built at the entrance to Neuilly on the site of the accident – today Our Lady of Compassion. In 1843, the king asked for boxes of stained glass for the royal chapel of Dreux, where the prince’s tomb is located. They will be reused for the chapel of the Château de Carheil (1847, Loire-Atlantique) which he bought for the Prince de Joinville, his third son. Finally, also in 1847, the Duc d’Aumale in turn ordered cartoons of stained glass windows for the chapel of Chantilly – cartoons never executed because of his exile after the fall of Louis-Philippe. In memory, the duke will buy in 1882 the drawing Archangel Raphael (1844), a sketch for one of the stained glass windows of Saint-Ferdinand.
For the Duc d’Aumale, the name of Ingres was linked to that of the Duc d’Orléans (the Prince Royal). This was also the case for the Duc de Montpensier, last of the siblings, who, in 1847, ordered a reduced version from him evoking a Pietà of Virgil reading the Aeneid before Augustus, Octave and Livia. In 1854, Aumale came into possession, with the collection of paintings of his father-in-law, the Prince of Salernes, of a little Ingres, Paolo and Francesca (1814). But he only really became attached to the artist in 1863, when he acquired Antiochus and Stratonice which was close to his heart because it had been painted for the Prince Royal. In 1867, he became a real lover of Ingres and tried to buy the drawing Homer’s Apotheosis (1865). Finally, in 1879 he acquired the collection of 40 paintings from Frédéric Reiset, director of the national museums. This has three major works – theSelf-portrait at the age of 24 (1804 then 1841-1851), the Portrait of Madame Duvaucey (1807) and the Anadyomene Venus (1808 then 1848) – which make the Condé Museum an essential place to get to know the artist.
The exhibition shows all these milestones in Ingres’ career in a series of “workshops”, each presenting preparatory drawings, period photographs, copies, related works and videos describing the laboratory studies whose accumulation makes the difficult visit for the general public but fascinating for the art historian. A masterpiece, at the end of the course, wins all the votes: the iconic Portrait of Madame d’Haussonville (1845, New York, The Frick Collection), great admirer of the painter and convinced Orleanist.