Grand Tour Patinated Bronze and Marble Model of the Place Vendome Column
Sold for $3,500
mid 19th century, as it appeared 1833-1863, a statue of Napoleon on the top, the column with four eagles around the foot, the base with a bronze fence.
h. 25-1/2", w. 6-3/4", d. 6-3/4"
Provenance: Bruce McCashin Collection.
Notes: This model of the column at Place Vendome depicts its third (1833-1863) iteration, with Napoleon in his famous redingote and bicorne as its capital. The first capital - a statue of Napoleon as a Roman emperor by Antoine Chaudet - was melted down during the Bourbon Restoration to create the monument to Henry IV on the Pont Neuf, and the column was topped with the Bourbon standard. After the deposition of Charles X in 1831, Louis-Philippe, the new King of the French, was eager to ally himself with the Bonapartists and so engaged sculptor Charles-Emile Surre to create a new statue of Napoleon as the "little corporal" as seen in this model; the statue was formally dedicated on July 18, 1833. Emperor Napoleon III, having followed his uncle and namesake to power in 1852, decided to replace the statue with one more august, and in 1863 contracted Auguste Dumont to adorn the column with a figure of Napoleon I in classical garb, similar to the original.
The Surre statue was moved to rond point Courbevoie, and during the Seige of Paris in 1870 it was submerged in the Seine off the pont de Neuilly. (Whether this was an accident, vandalism by the Communards, or a defiant attempt to protect it from vandalism by the Prussians is still debated.) It was recovered a few months later and placed at Depot des Marbres on Ile des Cygnes. In 1911, General Gustav Niox, director of L'hotel des Invalides, had the statue placed in the grand courtyard portico of les Invalides, where it remains today.