Napoleon I Broke a World Record

On 18 March 2018, by Anne Doridou-Heim
After Pierre Cartellier (1757-1831), «Napoléon Ier en costume de sacre», mid-19th century, white marble statue, 87 x 40 x 42 cm.
Result: €66,300

This marble statue after Pierre Cartellier (1757-1831) of Napoleon I in coronation garb broke the world record at €66,300. Cartellier’s works seldom appear on the market. Artnet lists just six that are by or after him, including an identical sculpture that fetched $15,000 at Christie’s New York on 10 October 2016. Cartellier was a turn-of-the-19th-century French sculptor, a professor at the Paris School of Fine Arts from 1816 – François Rude was one of his students – and a goldsmith, who officially belonged to the neoclassical school. Quatremère de Quincy (1755-1849) wrote a notice essential for understanding his life and work. He was showered with commissions under the Empire, including the statue of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, as a grand connétable in 1810 commemorating the capitulation of Ulm; a low-relief for the Carrousel Arch of Triumph; and a larger-than-life marble Napoleon I in 1813 at the Museum of the Palaces of Versailles and Trianon. The Restoration did not hold that against him: in 1815, Louis XVIII asked Cartellier to make an equestrian sculpture of Louis XIV to celebrate the Bourbons’ return to the throne of France.

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