N@N - NAPOLEON AND HIS ERA
AT NEUMEISTER IN DECEMBER

OUR THEME IS: NAPOLEON AND HIS TIMES

Napoleon Bonaparte left his mark on the European continent not only politically but also artistically. Starting in Paris the artistic style of the ‘Premier Empire’ spread across Europe – to Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Tsarist Russia. 200 years ago the first Emperor of the French died on St. Helena.

For NEUMEISTER reason enough to dedicate a special auction to Napoleon and his times in December 2021.

 

THE PERIOD WE ARE COVERING:

Curated by our experts the auction focuses on the period from the French Revolution in 1789 to Napoleon’s death in 1821. However, the time immediately preceding and directly following this period will also be represented with selected objects.

NEUMEISTER is the only German art auction house to hold a special auction in December to mark the 200th anniversary of Napoléon Bonaparte's death. In contrast to various auction houses abroad, NEUMEISTER is not concentrating on the person of the Emperor alone. Consequently, you will not find a two-cornered hat in the offer, nor a textile "relic" of one of his two wives ...

A magnificent marble bust will be offered as a representative of the Corsican himself, and his second wife Marie Louise will also be offered for auction, sculpted in marble.

Various prints will document the life of Napoléon Bonaparte, both from his time as Premier Consul and as (failed) Emperor of the French. Even the island of St. Helena is represented in the offering with an anonymous overall view from the period.

As the re-founder of the porcelain manufactory in Sèvres, Napoléon has a special role to play. And so we are proud to announce that a pair of vases (Vases Médicis) - glazed in the famous "Bleu de Sèvres" with painting in gold by the hand of Swebach Desfontaines from the year 1805 - has been released for the auction.

Our auction concept pays special attention to the radiance of Premier Empire art in other European countries.
The offer here is diverse.

A fantastic centrepiece by J. Krakauer, Vienna (1817).
Berlin cast iron art will be represented in the form of jewellery and with a highly rare writing instrument in the shape of Napoleon's sarcophagus.
Two busts draw attention to Napoleon's rival in the East, Tsar Alexander I of Russia: a small bronze bust of Alexander was intended to be a one-off, while a small replica was carved in white marble according to Bertel Thorvaldsen's design. 

An entire suite of coloured prints by Gillray testifies to the critical reception of Napoleon Bonaparte in England: Beginning with the Egyptian campaign, a panorama of mocking perception unfolds here, culminating in the famous sheets "The Plum-pudding in danger" and "The king of Brobdingnag": the proverbial "little" Corsican is examined here with a telescope: With a height of 1.68 m, Napléon was of average height, the "small" Corsican stems from the insular mockery of the British ...

Napoleon in the circle of other important rulers presents a tableau with twelve miniatures that comes from the possession of the Counts Montgelas

 

Isabey, Jean Baptiste (1767 Nancy - 1855 Paris) and other artists.

Collection of twelve portrait miniatures, the portrait of Napoleon signed "Isabey" on the right side. Inscribed above the individual miniatures (except for George III of England) with the names of the sitters. Depicted are: 1st row (l. to r.): Tsarina Maria Fyodorovna of Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Paul I of Russia - 2nd row (l. to r.): Archduke Carl of Austria, King Frederick William of Prussia, Archduke John of Austria. - 3rd row (from left to right): King George III of England, King Louis XVIII of France, Duke Wilhelm in Bavaria (incorrectly labelled "Duke Wilhelm v. Birkenfels" instead of his former name "Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen"). - 4th row (from left to right): Emperor Franz I of Austria, King Louis XVIII of France, Emperor Franz I of Austria.

 

Provenance: Counts of Montgelas - South German private collection.

 

The type of mounting suggests that this small collection was created during the lifetime of Count Maximilian von Montgelas, the actual creator of modern Bavaria.

A masterful painting by Johann Baptist Pflug reflects a warlike event in Alsace: The "Battle of Souffelweyersheim" took place on 25 June 1815 and was captured on canvas by the artist in 1827. The painting, which comes from a private collection, also shows an ancestor of the present consignor, who of course remains unnamed.

A special feature of our auction "N@N" is the broad time frame and also the deliberate "looking beyond" of our auction concept:
The oldest object in the auction is thus also one of the most interesting: an edition of "Diverse Maniere d'Adornare i Camini ..." by Giovanni Battista Piranesi: printed in Rome in 1769, bound in the most splendid way in marbled leather with elaborate gold ornamentation in a Roman workshop and coming from imperial possession: the title page bears the collection stamp of the Tsar's library in Tsarskoe-Selo!
The art of the Empire is inconceivable without this fundamental work by Piranesi: Numerous of the fireplaces are adorned with Egyptianising decorations, motifs that were then reused in the French Empire in a quasi inflationary manner. The taste of the "little Corsican" - of course not coming out of nowhere, but prefigured by works such as Piranesi's, later elevated by Napoléon Bonaparte to a quasi "state style" and widely disseminated throughout Europe.

 

Chronologically post-revolutionary: the precision pendulum clock!

Floor standing clock with equation display and republican calendar by Henry-Lepaute

Very important floor clock with equation display and republican calendar by the Parisian maitre-horloger Pierre Henry-Lepaute (1745-1805) and the ebenist C. Antoine Stadler (1776 master), Paris, around 1800.

The equation display - an invention of the late 17th century - means the display of the true solar time next to the mean solar time. Equation clocks therefore have two minute hands. In the case of this grandfather clock, there is a golden minute hand with a sun symbol and a plain blue steel hand.

The Republican calendar was started on 22 September 1792 with the year 1 and ended by decree of Emperor Napoleon I on 1 January 1806.

The special feature of the Republican calendar is that all 12 months of the year are evenly divided into 30 days each. Five supplementary days, the so-called Jour à Comple, are located between the last month of the Republican year, the Fructidor (Fruit Month) and the first month, the Vendémiare (Wine Month).

 

Another highlight is a new discovery in the work of the Munich court painter Josef Stieler: in 1820 he created (Napoléon was still alive!) the portrait of what is literally a "child of his time":

 

The Italian mezzo-soprano Adelaide Schiassetti was born in 1800 as the daughter of a Napoleonic officer and spent her youth in Milan. Milan - there reigned as viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais, stepson of the French emperor, (most happily) married to Auguste Amalia Ludovika of Bavaria since 1806. In Milan, Henri Beyle joined the Schiassetti family, the Italophile writer - now world-famous as "Stendhal", befriended them and especially encouraged their talented daughter Adelaide. We also owe notes on her biography to him. In 1818 Adelaide came to Munich, took the audience at the Court Opera and the hearts of the royal family by storm. Crown Prince Ludwig was also enraptured, and Josef Stieler created three portraits of the Schiassetti.

 

The present portrait is one of two "trial paintings" by Stieler for the famous Gallery of Beauty, but was purchased privately by the Crown Prince. Ludwig supported Adelaide financially until his death. According to sources, she never gave in to his courtship and died unmarried in Genoa in 1876.

 

In 1806, Napoléon had begun the construction of a hall of fame, and in 1812 it was transformed into a church building: "La Madeleine", one of the most famous churches in Paris was - like many others - still unfinished at his death. In 1834, Paul Delaroche received his most prominent commission to date: he was to create a cycle of frescoes for the newly built Église de la Madeleine. Shortly afterwards he went on a study trip to Italy with artist friends, and in 1835 he married Louise, the daughter of the famous painter Horace Vernet. While still in Rome, he was informed that the central part of his commission for La Madeleine, the design of the apse, had been awarded to Jules-Claude Ziegler. Paul Delaroche finally withdrew from this project. Two paintings with figure studies by Paul Delaroche for this painting, which he never executed, are offered in our auction.

 

The chronological arc of the auction stretches to the present: the artist Oliver Jordan, who has become famous for his interpretations of famous portraits and is highly appreciated by collectors, is represented with two drawings of the Emperor. 

The experts at NEUMEISTER have succeeded - as is already evident at this point - in bringing an entire art epoch back to consciousness in the special auction they have curated. On the basis of the individual objects, a kaleidoscopic picture emerges of a period that was marked by serious political upheavals and yet produced a quasi-uniform, yet regionally individually varied style: the "Premier Empire".