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Armchair (fauteuil)

Object Number: 
1867.438
Date: 
ca. 1800
Medium: 
Beech; paint, gilding, bronze, wool
Dimensions: 
Overall: 38 x 26 3/4 x 28 in. ( 96.5 x 67.9 x 71.1 cm )
Marks: 
engraved: on brass plaque with chair (now in object file): "ARM CHAIR USED BY/NAPOLEON BONAPARTE/WHILE FIRST CONSUL/OF THE/REPUBLIC OF FRANCE/PRESENTED BY LOUIS BORG/1867"
Description: 
Painted and gilded Empire open armchair (fauteuil); square upholstered back with gilded fluted stiles; round upholstered arms with circular metal lion's head mounts (replaced) on arm terminations above baluster-shaped supports; upholstered square seat with bowed front seat rail; front and side seat rails decorated with gilded rondels; baluster-shaped front legs on blocks and raked rear legs; upholstered in original red wool showcover with applied metallic tape.
Gallery Label: 
This commanding armchair, or fauteuil, was part of a suite made for Napoleon's council chamber at Malmaison in 1800. The room and its furnishings were conceived in the newly fashionable Empire style by leading French designers Percier and Fontaine. The chair was brought to America around 1816 by Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte, who owned a luxurious estate in Bordentown, New Jersey. Remarkably, the chair retains its original bronzé finish, red wool upholstery, and gilded metal trim.
Bibliography: 
Olson, Roberta J. M. "A selection of European paintings and objects." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 182-187.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Louis Borg
Provenance: 
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821); to his brother Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844); to his business associate Felix Lacoste (1795-1853); to Louis Borg (1812-after 1867), his successor as consul general; to N-YHS.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group