The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Jean Dominique Ingres, 1780-1867

Nationality: French
Date of Birth: 1780.08.29
Place of Birth: Montauban
Date of Death: 1867.01.14
Place of Death: Paris


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French classical history painter. His father Jean-Marie-Joseph Ingres (1755-1814) was a decorative painter, sculptor and amateur musician.


When Whistler arrived in Paris in November 1855 he had the opportunity to view the works of Ingres that were being exhibited at the Exposition Universelle, and in 1857 he painted a copy of Ingres' Roger délivrant Angélique (1819), Copy after Ingres's 'Roger délivrant Angélique' (YMSM 11), having been commissioned to do so by a Captain Williams whom Whistler had met at West Point. Whistler wrote to Henri Fantin-Latour on 11 July 1863 expressing his independence from Charles Baudelaire and Edouard Manet whom he felt did not regard Ingres with due reverence. He followed this with a letter in September 1867 in which he declared to Fantin that he wished that he had been a pupil of Ingres and that 'Courbet and his influence was disgusting!' There had been an Ingres retrospective in Paris during the summer of that year that may well have fired Whistler's enthusiasm, together with the growing influence of Albert Moore. Whistler's Symphony in White, No. 2: The Little White Girl (YMSM 52) has been related to Ingres' portrait of the Comtesse d'Haussonville (1845; Frick Collection).


Cogniet, R., (ed.), Ingres, écrits sur l'art: Textes recueillis dans les carnets et dans la correspondance d'Ingres, Paris, 1947; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Monneret, S., L'Impressionisme et son époque, Paris, 1978-79; Brumbaugh, T. B., 'A group of Ingres Letters', John Walters Art Gallery, vol. 42-43, 1984-85, pp. 90-96; Wildenstein, D., The Paintings of of J.-A.-D. Ingres, London, 1954; Condon, Patricia, 'Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 5 April 2002).