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Oedipus and the Sphinx
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Oedipus and the Sphinx

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
Description The Sphinx, a mythical creature-part lion, part woman-grimaces in horror as Oedipus solves her riddle: "What is that which has one voice and yet becomes four-footed, two-footed, and three-footed?" Oedipus replies, "Man, for as a babe he is four-footed, as an adult he is two-footed, and as an old man he gets a third support, a cane," and the Sphinx hurls herself onto the rocks below, which are strewn with the bones of her victims. Ingres, who frequently repeated the subjects of his paintings, first depicted this story at the beginning of his career and returned to it several times, making variations in the composition, such as reversing the direction in which the figures faced.
Date Description Narrative
3/02/1961Treatmentcleaned; stabilized; loss compensation; coated
4/13/1983Examinationexamined for loan
6/08/1983Treatmentstabilized; loss compensation; coated
2/13/1992Treatmentcleaned; coated
9/02/1993Treatmentexamined for condition; coated
4/12/1999Treatmentloss compensation
1/01/2004Treatmentcleaned; stabilized
2/22/2005Treatmentloss compensation
  • French Master Paintings from Baltimore. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2001-0.
  • Millet and Barbizon Art. Matsumoto City Museum, Matsumoto City; Tokuyama City Museum of Art and History, Tokuyama; Kasama Nichido Museum, Kasama City; Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art, Kanazawa. 1996.
  • From Ingres to Gauguin: French Nineteenth Century Paintings Owned in Maryland. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1951.
  • Flight, Fantasy, Faith, Fact. Dayton Art Institute, Dayton. 1953-1954.
  • Ingres in American Collections. Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York, New York. 1961.
  • Masterpieces of Art – Century 21 Exposition (Seattle World's Fair). Seattle World's Fair, Seattle. 1962.
  • Neo-Classicism: Style and Motif. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland. 1964.
  • Man: Glory, Jest, and Riddle, A Survey of the Human Form Through the Ages. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco. 1964-1965.
  • From El Greco to Pollock: Early and Late Works by European and American Artists. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1968.
  • In Pursuit of Perfection: The Art of J.- A.- D. Ingres. Speed Art Museum, Louisville; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. 1983-1984.
  • Vive la France! French Treasures from the Middle Ages to Monet. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1999-2000.
  • Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
  • Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Dayton Art Institute, Dayton; Royal Academy of Arts, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. 2000-2002.
  • A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte. 2002-2004.
  • Ingres, 1780-1867. Musée du Louvre, Paris. 2006.
  • Déjà Vu? Revealing Repetition in French Masterpieces. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix. 2007-2008.
  • 19th Century Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin. 2010-2011.
  • From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
Provenance M. Emile Pereire, 1864, by commission [painted for Pereire]; Pereire Sale, Paris, March 6-9, 1872, no. 26; Secrétan Sale, Paris, July 1-7, 1889, no. 37; P. A. Chéramy Sale, Paris, May 5-7, 1908, no. 20 [208 (?)]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1908, by purchase [Dikran Kelekian as agent]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] Lower center: J. Ingres fbat/etatis/; [Date] Lower center: LXXXIII/1864; [Number] On reverse: 160; [Number] On reverse: 6385
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1908

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oil on canvas
(Painting & Drawing)
Accession Number
H: 41 9/16 x W: 34 1/4 in. (105.5 x 87 cm); Framed H: 59 3/8 x W: 52 1/8 x D: 7 3/8 in. (150.81 x 132.4 x 18.73 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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