Jean-Auguste Ingres drawing stars in Rockefeller sale

This drawing by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres appears at first glance to be a preliminary sketch for a painting.

However the piece, which depicts Fraulein Louise Sophia Ritter – sister-in-law to the Dutch Ambassador to Rome – circa 1815, is signed by the artist.

Ingres drawing Rockefeller

Ingres was a celebrated Parisian neoclassicisist painter 

That suggests Ingres considered this a finished piece of work.

The lot is appearing in an auction of art from the collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller at Christie’s in the spring

It was acquired by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874-1948), another member of this fabulously well-heeled New York dynasty, from a dealer in 1931.

While she was mainly interested in modern art, Abby saw Ingres’ influence on later generations.

Furio Ronalid, an expert in old master drawings at Christie’s, explains: "Abby understood the importance that both Matisse and Picasso placed on the work of Ingres.

“Both artists appreciated and were deeply influenced by Ingres’ linear style and his graphic, highly sophisticated manner.

“Picasso visited Ingres’ Paris retrospective in 1905 and it had an immediate and visible effect on his work.

“Matisse, for his part, said that Ingres was the first artist to use pure colours. Abby recognised these modernist qualities in his work, too.”

The sale looks set to be one of the biggest of the year.

Picasso’s Young Girl with a Flower Basket (1905) and Matisse’s Odalisque with Magnolias (1923) will also feature.

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