The J. Paul Getty Museum

Portrait of Nadine Dumas (Madame Alexandre Dumas Fils 1827 - 1875)

Object Details


Portrait of Nadine Dumas (Madame Alexandre Dumas Fils 1827 - 1875)


Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, 1827 - 1875)




France (Place Created)





Object Number:



80 × 56.5 × 38.1 cm, 117.9352 kg (31 1/2 × 22 1/4 × 15 in., 260 lb.)

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Object Description

Known in her younger days as the "siren with green eyes," Madame Nadine Dumas retains her grace and charm in this portrait bust of her at a mature age. Carved in white marble, she is a handsome woman in her later years with a forceful presence. As she turns with a steady gaze, her upright pose conveys self-assurance. Her unconventional expression suggests intelligence and strength as it shows her with a furrowed brow, caught in a moment of thought. The lace edging on her blouse and the waves in her upswept hair add animation to the smooth surface, while the termination of the bust is softened with a shawl loosely knotted around the shoulders and waist.

The daughter of a lawyer from the Baltic region, Nadine, born Nadeja Knorring, married Prince Alexandre Naryschkine, her elder by twenty years. After separating from her husband, she lived with the famous author Alexandre Dumas fils for about twelve years, unable to marry him until 1864, when Prince Naryschkine died. Artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, a close friend of Dumas and a witness at his wedding to Nadeja, conceived of the bust as a friendship portrait. He carved it while staying with the Dumas couple in the north of France near Dieppe.

1875 - 1895

Alexandre Dumas fils, French, 1824 - 1895, by inheritance within the Dumas family.

1895 - 1982

Heirs of Alexandre Dumas fils, French, 1824 - 1895 [sold, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Monte-Carlo, June 14, 1982, lot 234, to Fabius Frères.]

1982 - 1985

Fabius Frères Gallery, French, founded 1882, dissolved 2011, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1985.

The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (March 3 to September 30, 2014)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), March 3 to May 27, 2014
  • Musée d'Orsay (Paris), June 23 to September 30, 2014

Mantz, Paul. "Carpeaux." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 13, (January 1876), p. 625.

Lami, Stanislas. Dictionnaire des Sculpteurs de L'École Française au Dix-Neuvième Siècle, 2 vols. (Paris, Édouard Champion, 1914), vol. 1, p. 275.

Clement-Carpeaux, Louise. La Vérité sur l’Œuvre et la Vie de J.B. Carpeaux, 2 vols. (Paris: André Lesot, 1935), vol. 2, p. 175.

"Acquisitions/1985." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 14 (1986), pp. 177-78, 258-59, no. 234.

Fusco, Peter. Summary Catalogue of European Sculpture in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 14, ill.