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Today, artist Richard Serra will receive France's highest honor, the insignia of Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, "The Art Newspaper" reports.

The prestigious award—created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte to reward outstanding services rendered to France—celebrates the close relationship of the American artist with French art institutions and galleries, as well as his great contribution to contemporary art.

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A 200-year-old chandelier made for the summer palace of Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother and King of Westphalia from 1807 to 1813, has a new home. The chandelier, created by the German firm Werner & Mieth in 1810-1811, has been purchased by the Toledo Museum of Art for its collection.

The Spiral Chandelier is made of cast, chased and fire-gilded bronze armature hung with cut and polished glass pendants.

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Napoleon Bonaparte’s letter of surrender, in which he pleads for refuge in Britain, is to go on display to mark the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo.

Addressed to the future George IV, the French emperor begs for the “hospitality of the British people” and calls on the prince regent as “the most powerful, the most constant, and the most generous of my enemies” for protection.

The letter is one of the centerpieces of an exhibition at Windsor Castle alongside a previously unseen letter from the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

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Napoleon Bonaparte’s trademark bicorne hat sold at auction near Paris on Sunday for roughly $2.4 million, according to news reports.

A South Korean collector, whose name was not released, paid nearly five times more than the minimum price set for the two-cornered, black felt hat that was apparently worn by the French emperor during the Battle of Marengo in 1800, the BBC reported.

Jean-Pierre Osenat of the Osenat auction house in Fontainebleau, France said the hat, now weathered from its age, is part of a collection belonging to the Prince of Monaco, whose family is distantly related to Napoleon.

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Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:38

Graff Ruby Sets Auction Record in Geneva

An 8.62-carat ruby set a record auction price as Sotheby’s (BID) concluded a $95 million sale of jewelry last night in Geneva, including a pearl necklace probably once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife.

British billionaire jeweler Laurence Graff bid $8.6 million for the Graff Ruby, which he had previously owned, and he also spent $3.2 million on a 3.16-carat intense-blue diamond ring, the auction house said. The necklace, made of 111 pearls, sold for $3.4 million, more than double the high estimate.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2014 10:44

French Museum Acquires Napoleon’s Wedding Contract

A piece of French history was acquired by Paris’s Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits this weekend. On Sunday, 21 September, the museum bought Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine Beauharnais’s marriage contract for €437,500 at auction, including buyer’s premium. The sale was held by Osenat, the Fontainebleau-based specialist in Napoleonic memorabilia, in the grounds of the Chateau de Malmaison, Josephine’s favourite retreat a few miles west of Paris.

Dated 9 March 1796, the four-page document was signed by the couple the day before their nuptials.

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On March 4, 2013 the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced a number of important acquisitions that will enhance the institution’s European, Latin, and American art collections. The gifts came from various donors including collectors Roberta and Richard Huber, global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline, and several Museum Trustees.

Among the recent acquisitions is Amaryllis Josephine, a double-page watercolor on vellum by Belgian painter and botanist Pierre Joseph Redouté (1759-1840). A pencil drawing of the flower’s bulb accompanies the watercolor. Both of the works were created as part of a series of engravings made under the patronage of the empress Joséphine, Napoleon Bonaparte’s first wife.

The museum also received four 18th century paintings that are currently on view as part of the exhibition Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection (on view through May 19, 2013). The works include King Luis I of Spain on Horseback (unknown artist, Peru); Saint Anthony of Padua Preaching Before Pope Gregory IX (unknown artist Peru); The House at Nazareth (unknown artist, Bolivia); and Our Lady of the Reedbed or Irún with Donor, Captain Joaquín Elorrieta by Ecuadorian artist José Cortés de Alcocer.    

Other acquisitions include 236 photographs by pioneering modern photographer Paul Strand (1890-1976); N.C. Wyeth’s (1890-1976) Trial of the Bow, the first painting to enter the museum’s collection by the artist; and an early 20th century stained glass and bronze chandelier by Tiffany Studios under the artistic direction of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933).

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will hold an exhibition of its recent acquisitions this summer.

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