"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, August 13, 2016


This 1862 painting entitled 1814 by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier hangs in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland.
"After accompanying the French army in the Austro-Italian War of 1859, Meissionier abandoned the small, Dutch 17th-century genre subjects for which he had become known and turned with even greater success to depicting events in the career of Napoleon I. In this small painting commissioned by the subject's nephew, Prince Napoleon, the emperor is portrayed in a forbidding landscape just after his last, hard-won victory in the 1814 French campaign that was fought at Arcis-sur-Aube, near Troyes: 23,000 French troops withstood the onslaught of 90,000 Austrians, but were unable to capitalize on their victory." -- The Walters Art Gallery

This painting was purchased by William T. Walters in 1886. The labels says this:
"This small work was one of William T. Walters' favorites, as well as the most expensive he ever purchased, and it reflects his lifelong fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte. Military subjects by Meissonier were especially popular with American collectors during the second half of the  19th century. In 1875 retailer and railway owner Alexander Turney Stewart purchased a large painting by Meissonier for the very high price of $60,000 without having seen it." 

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