September 25, 2007 - January 27, 2008
Selected from the Allen’s outstanding permanent collection, this exhibition includes Old Master drawings from all of the major European schools. Highlighted are works by Filippino Lippi, Peter Paul Rubens, Guercino, Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, Anthony Frederick Sandys, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat.
Of particular note is a work by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, in which the meticulously drawn face of Madame Thiers contrasts with his freer sketch of her body, wide lace collar and voluminous sleeves. This elegant portrait of Elise Dosne, the 15-year-old bride of the recently-appointed Minister of the Interior of France, Louis-Adolphe Thiers, was drawn around the time Thiers appointed Ingres to the important position of director of the French Academy in Rome.
The portrait may show great unhappiness. Elise was the daughter of a rich financier whose wife was assumed by contemporaries to have been Thiers’s mistress. The union between Elise and the much older Thiers was no marriage of love; it appears to have been arranged to fulfill a contract between him and her parents. The vacant look emanating from her pale, widely-set eyes in Ingres’s drawing, made several months after their wedding, may suggest Elise’s feelings for her new husband.
Organized by Andria Derstine, AMAM Curator of Western Art
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (French, 1780-1867)
Portrait of Madame Thiers, 1834
Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio
R. T. Miller, Jr. Fund, 1948