Joseph-Antoine Moltedo (born 1775)

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris)

ca. 1810
Oil on canvas
29 5/8 x 22 7/8 in. (75.2 x 58.1 cm)
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    Corsican by birth, Moltedo was an enterprising businessman and inventor, agent to the French clergy at the Vatican, and director of the Roman post office from 1803 until 1814. Painted during one of the most productive periods of Ingres’s nascent career, this refined portrait belongs to a series of commissions he received from French officials in Napoleonic Rome. They are distinguished by the inclusion of Roman views as backdrops—in this case the Appian Way and the Colosseum—as well as by stormy gray skies, a Romantic conceit that serves as a foil to the calm and secure expressions of the men portrayed.

  • Provenance

    ?Moltedo family, Corsica; ?Princess Vera Koudacheff (sale, Christie's, London, December 1, 1906, no. 146); Théodore Duret, Paris (sold to Havemeyer); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (by 1916–d. 1929; cat., 1931, pp. 136–37, ill.)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. Museum of French Art, French Institute. "Special Dedication Exhibition of French Art," January 5, 1926, no. 21 (as "Portrait of Chevalier X, a Cousin of Napoleon I," lent anonymously).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 72 (as "Portrait of a Gentleman") [2nd ed., 1958, no. 154, as "Joseph Antoine Moltedo?"].

    New York. M. Knoedler & Co.. "Loan Exhibition in Honour of Royal Cortissoz," December 1–20, 1941, no. 21.

    Seattle Art Museum. March 7–May 6, 1951, unnumbered cat.?

    Paris. Petit Palais. "Ingres," October 27, 1967–January 29, 1968, no. 50 (as "Joseph Antoine Moltedo").

    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat. (p. 73).

    Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 55.

    Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 55.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ingres at the Metropolitan," December 13, 1988–March 19, 1989, no catalogue (as "Joseph Antoine Moltedo [born 1775]").

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A330.

    London. National Gallery. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," January 27–April 25, 1999, no. 27 (as "Joseph-Antoine Moltedo").

    Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," May 23–August 22, 1999, no. 27.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch," October 5, 1999–Janaury 2, 2000, no. 27.

    Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Ingres: 1780–1867," February 24–May 15, 2006, no. 47.

  • References

    Théophile Silvestre. Histoire des artistes vivants: Français et étrangers. Paris, 1856, p. 34, lists a portrait of M. Moltedo among the paintings Ingres made during his stay in Rome between 1806 and 1820.

    Henri Delaborde. Ingres: Sa vie, ses travaux, sa doctrine. Paris, 1870, p. 254, no. 138, quotes from Ingres's notebooks regarding a bust-length portrait he made of Maltedo [sic] in Rome before 1820.

    J. Momméja. Ingres. Paris, [1907], p. 40, notes that in Rome Ingres painted several portraits, among them one of "Maltedo".

    Léonce Bénédite. "Les collections d'art aux États-Unis." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), pp. 164–65, mentions a portrait of an unknown Corsican by Ingres in the Havemeyer collection, which was acquired on the advice of Mary Cassatt.

    Henry Lapauze. Ingres: Sa vie & son oeuvre (1780–1867), d'après des documents inédits. Paris, 1911, pp. 102–3, wonders whether the "Étude d'un homme historié" that Ingres sent to the Institut de France in Paris in 1808 was this painting.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Letter to Théodore Duret. October 20, 1916 [see Ref. Weitzenhoffer 1986], states that the portrait continues to gives her pleasure, as with so many bought from him.

    Théodore Duret. Letter to Louisine W. Havemeyer. June 1, 1918 [see Ref. Stein 1993], notes that he was responsible for the acquisition of this portrait.

    Special Dedication Exhibition of French Art. Exh. cat., Museum of French Art, French Institute. New York, 1926, p. 20, no. 21, as "Portrait of Chevalier X," a cousin of Napoleon I.

    Royal Cortissoz. The Painter's Craft. New York, 1930, pp. 203–4, ill. opp. p. 202, states that this portrait had been in the collection of the sitter's family in Corsica until Mrs. Havemeyer brought it to New York.

    Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 470, 482, ill., notes his distaste for this painting.

    Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 176, as "Portrait of a Gentleman"; notes the Roman landscape.

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 136–37, ill., notes the Colosseum at right; remarks that the sitter was a "chargé d'affaires" in Rome.

    Walter Pach. Ingres. New York, 1939, pp. 43–44, ill. opp. p. 38, as "Portrait of a Man," dated 1807.

    Georges Oberti. "Ingres et Multedo." Le petit écho de la Corse no. 20 (May 1954), p. 6, ill., dates it 1812; demonstrates that the subject for the portrait cannot be Deputy Moltedo [see Wildenstein 1954], but is instead the Deputy's nephew, Joseph-Antoine Moltedo, whose age and position in Roman society agree with the likeness and dress of the sitter; notes that in his left hand Moltedo is holding a rosary, alluding to his position as general agent to the French clergy at the Holy See.

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 44, ill., as "Portrait of a Gentleman".

    Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 1st ed. 1954, p. 174, no. 71, pl. 22, calls it "Portrait of a Member of the Moltedo Family, perhaps Joseph-André-Antoine Moltedo, Deputy Corsica to the Convention (1751–1829)".

    Georges Wildenstein. The Paintings of J. A. D. Ingres. 2nd revised ed. London, 1956, p. 174, no. 71, pl. 22, calls it "Portrait of Joseph-Antoine Moltedo, Postmaster-General in Rome, Agent-General for the Clergy of France, at the Holy See (b. 1755, d. after 1814)".

    Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. "XIX Century." French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, 1966, pp. 5–7, ill., as "Joseph Antoine Moltedo"; date it 1810–15.

    Michel Laclotte. "L'année Ingres." Revue du Louvre et des musées de France nos. 4–5 (1967), p. 193, dates it 1806–20.

    Mathieu Méras. "Ingres et l'Italie." Bulletin du Musée Ingres no. 21 (July 1967), p. 18, discusses the landscape, which includes umbrella pines and the Monts Albains.

    Daniel Ternois in Ingres. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1967, pp. 74–75, no. 50, ill., dates it 1807–14.

    Anita Brookner. "Ingres at the Petit Palais." Burlington Magazine 110 (February 1968), p. 95, notes that Moltedo is wearing a diamond ring.

    Emilio Radius Ettore Camesasca in L'opera completa di Ingres. Milan, 1968, pp. 92–93, no. 61, ill. p. 93 and colorpl. XVI, dates it close to but not later than 1814; compares it with the portrait of Granet (W51; Musée Granet, Aix).

    Edith A. Standen in Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, [1970], p. 73, ill. (color), dates it about 1812.

    100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum [in Russian]. Exh. cat., State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad. Moscow, 1975, pp. 154–55, no. 55, ill., dates it 1810–15.

    Gianni Rizzoni. Ingres. Milan, 1976, p. 43, ill. [see Ref. Conisbee 1999].

    Bernard Dunstan. "Looking at Paintings." American Artist 41 (August 1977), pp. 74–75, ill. (color and black and white).

    Jon Whiteley. Ingres. London, 1977, p. 39, no. 22, ill. (color).

    Daniel Ternois. Ingres. Milan, 1980, pp. 24, 46, 72, 175, no. 69, ill. (color and black and white), dates it about 1810 and agrees that Moltedo is holding a rosary [see Ref. Oberti 1954].

    Hélène Toussaint. Les portraits d'Ingres: Peintures des musées nationaux. Paris, 1985, pp. 52, 138 n. 73, discusses this painting in relation to the "Portrait of Charles Cordier" (W 78; Louvre, Paris); notes that Ingres's signature is missing, probably a result of the painting being cut to eliminate the rosary that Moltedo held.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 238–39, 255, no. 160, ill., mentions that the Havemeyers had passed up their first opportunity to buy this picture in 1905 because they wanted a female portrait, but that after her husband's death Mrs. Havemeyer did acquire it as they had not yet found a female portrait.

    Hélène Toussaint. "Les fonds de portraits d'Ingres: Peintures a fond de paysage." Bulletin du Musée Ingres nos. 63-64 (1990), pp. 22, 24 n. 9, as "Portrait de Moltedo"; proposes that Ingres painted only the portrait and that François-Marius Granet painted the landscape; suggests that the motivation to trim the painting was to reduce the prominence of the rosary in order to make the work more salable, noting that the painting lost about 15 cm in height and 12 cm in length.

    Annalisa Zanni. Ingres: catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1990, p. 48, no. 34, ill. (color).

    Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 350, no. A330, ill.

    Georges Vigne. Ingres. New York, 1995, pp. 87, 90, 325, 327, 331 no. 57, fig. 60 (color), dates it about 1810; publishes Ingres's Cahiers IX and X where this work is listed as "Moltedo" among the portraits he painted in Rome between 1806 and 1820.

    Paul de Roux. Ingres. Paris, 1996, pp. 48–49, ill. p. 48 (detail) and colorpl. 9.

    Valérie Bajou. Monsieur Ingres. Paris, 1999, pp. 109–10, 112–13, 184, 359 n. 20, colorpl. 67, believes that the view of the Colosseum and the via Appia have an emblematic value; discusses the composition and the possibility that Granet painted the landscape.

    Philip Conisbee in Portraits by Ingres: Image of an Epoch. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1999, pp. 106, 122, 125–27, 135, 142, 146, 356, 526, no. 27, ill. (color), dates it about 1810; suggests that Moltedo is not holding a rosary, but is simply wearing a ring; notes that the painting's somewhat squat appearance can be attributed to the fact that it was trimmed on all sides at an unknown date; remarks that the landscape in the background is very similar to Granet's "The Colosseum, Rome, with a Cypress" of about 1810 (Musée Granet, Aix).

    Nicholas Penny. Notes on Frames in the Exhibition "Portraits by Ingres". February 1999 [published on the National Portrait Gallery, London website: http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/the-art-of-the-picture-frame/artist-ingres.php].

    Vincent Pomarède in Ingres: 1780–1867. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2006, pp. 151, 156, 188, 380–81, no. 47, ill. (color).

    Gary Tinterow and Asher E. Miller in Ingres: 1780–1867. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2006, pp. 80–81, 86, based on infrared reflectography, assert that Ingres painted the landscape in the background of this picture.

    Masterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 9, 261–62, no. 7, ill. (color and black and white).

  • Notes

    Joseph-Antoine Moltedo (or Multedo) was born in Corsica in 1775. He served from 1803 to 1814 as director of the Roman Post Office. He was also a successful industrialist, owned a lead foundry in Tivoli, and directed a business concern. In addition, he invented a fire pump and a machine for weaving hemp.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History