Sophie Liénard (French, active 1842-1845) A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair
Lot 154
Sophie Liénard
(French, active 1842-1845)
A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair
Sold for £34,850 (US$ 57,614) inc. premium
Auction Details
Sophie Liénard (French, active 1842-1845) A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair Sophie Liénard (French, active 1842-1845) A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair Sophie Liénard (French, active 1842-1845) A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair
Lot Details
Sophie Liénard (French, active 1842-1845)
A pair of portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), First Emperor of the French (1804-1815) and Joséphine Bonaparte (née de Beauharnais) (1763–1814), First Empress of the French (1804-1810): he, wearing the uniform of the chasseurs-à-cheval, red-piped dark green coat with red collar and gold epaulettes, black bicorn; she, wearing white dress, the short gold-striped sleeve with standing gold lace border, pearl necklace with pendent drop-pearls and pearl set tiara in her upswept curled dark hair.
Painted on porcelain, each signed on the obverse Sie. Liénard., the former inscribed on the reverse Bonaparte/ premier Consul./ né à Ajaccio, le 15 Août 1769./ mort à St hélène, le 5 Mai 1821; the latter inscribed on the reverse Joséphine/ née à la Martinique le 24 Juin 1763/ morte à la Malmaison le 24 mai 1814, gilt-mounted within glazed gilt-wood box frame.
Oval, 152mm (6in) high (2)

Footnotes

  • The present portrait of Empress Joséphine derives from a portrait miniature by Daniel Saint. Saint painted many copies of his own miniature, a signed version being in the Wallace Collection, see Graham Reynolds, Wallace Collection. Catalogue of Miniatures, 1980, no.231, ill.p.247. Other versions exist in the collections of the Louvre and the Chateaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau.

    The present portrait of Emperor Napoleon derives from a portrait by Jean Baptiste Isabey from 1801 of the Emperor, standing full-length in the garden outside Malmaison. This portrait, in the collection of the Chateaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, was the first depiction of Napoleon with his hand slipped inside his jacket, which was to become his trademark image. Isabey's portrait was engraved throughout the first half of the 19th Century, helping to disseminate the image of Napoleon as a philosophical legislator.

    In 1795, at a party given by Paul Barras, Napoleon was introduced to Marie-Joséphe-Rose de Beauharnais, Barras' mistress, who he was trying to offload. Napoleon was hooked and decided to pursue her hand in marriage. Eventually after the intervention of Barras, she agreed to marry Napoleon. Napoleon genuinely loved Joséphine, while she despised him and thought he was a total bore. She continued to have a string of lovers during Napoleon's absence in Italy, which eventually came to ears of one of his officers, Joachim Murat, who reported back to Napoleon.

    When the Italian Campaign was finally over and Napoleon returned to Paris. Joséphine behaved better, but as soon as he left for Egypt, she went back to her old ways. Napoleon was still genuinely in love with her and doted over her, but in July 1798, he learnt the full truth of her infidelities and determined to divorce her. When Joséphine learned that Napoleon was coming back from Egypt early and that he had found out about her, she panicked. She went to meet Napoleon at the port so that she could persuade him that she had been faithful. But Napoleon landed at another port and got back to Paris ahead of her and locked himself in a room in the house. Ironically, Joséphine had finally fallen in love with Napoleon, but she was too late and while they remained husband and wife, from that point onward he was not a faithful husband. Although Napoleon didn't love Joséphine, he respected her abilities as a hostess and her persuasiveness in getting people to do things for him. He knew that while he was married to Joséphine, who was barren, he could not produce a legitimate heir of his own, so, when her daughter Hortense and his brother Louis had a son, Napoleon named him his heir.

    Now that Napoleon had an heir he felt that he could divorce Joséphine. Then, in December 1805, he became Emperor of the French. While the pope was in Paris to perform the coronation, Joséphine let it slip that she and Napoleon had never had a church wedding, only a civil marriage. In the eyes of the church, therefore, they were not married, but had been living in sin. Napoleon was furious. Joséphine had trapped him. Now, in order to be crowned Emperor he had to make the marriage respectable and forget his plans for divorce. Eventually, wanting to produce an heir truly of his own, he divorced Joséphine in order to marry the Austrian princess Marie-Louise. However, his continued affection for Josephine led her to retain the title of Empress for the remainder of her life.
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