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March 26, 1938

My dear Doctor:

I want to let you know about a picture we have just received which is one of the greatest and most important pictures by Ingres.

It is the first version of the Odalisque by Ingres, which comes directly from Ingres' family, having been left by the artist to his wife, who in turn presented it to her brother, Mr. Ramel, from whose daughter we received the picture. These facts are confirmed by the will of Mr. Ingres and also by the inventory made after Ingres' death, which is dated only a few months after the will (1867).

This picture which was exhibited in June 1921 in Paris at the Ingres exhibition, measures 32-3/4" high and 42-3/4" long. It differs from the somewhat larger picture which is in the Louvre in the sense that the turkish pipe, the fan, and the jewelry have been omitted, and that the drapery is made of a plainer material. Also, it is a grisaille. As a matter of fact, to our knowledge it is one of the only two known grisailles by the artist, and shows better than any work of the artist his great quality of draftmanship. The picture is of an incredible plastic quality. It is certainly one of the greatest works of art which has ever come to this country.

So far it has been seen by only two persons. I thought of letting you know about it as the works of Ingres are so rare, and this such an interesting and important example that maybe you will find some way to acquire it for your museum or will find a home for it in Detroit.

With my kindest regards,

Please believe me to be,

Very sincerely yours

(Rene Seligmann)

Dr. W. R. Valentiner
Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit, Michigan

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