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49

Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet

César-René-Marie-François-Rodolphe de Vachon, Marquis de Belmont-Briançon, a battlefield beyond

Property from a Distinguished North American Collection

Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet

Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet

César-René-Marie-François-Rodolphe de Vachon, Marquis de Belmont-Briançon, a battlefield beyond

César-René-Marie-François-Rodolphe de Vachon, Marquis de Belmont-Briançon, a battlefield beyond

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Property from a Distinguished North American Collection

Émile-Jean-Horace Vernet

Paris 1789-1863

César-René-Marie-François-Rodolphe de Vachon, Marquis de Belmont-Briançon, a battlefield beyond


signed and dated lower left: Horace. Vernet 181(5?)

indistinctly inscribed on reverse of stretcher: M. de Belmont-Briançon / Colonel des ... Chau.../ peint par Carle Vernet dans la position où il se / trouvait donnant un ordre lorsqu'il fut tué par un boul..../ a la bataille (?) de Reims en 1814

oil on canvas

canvas: 19⅞ by 24⅛ in.; 50.5 by 61.3 cm.

framed: 25½ by 30 in.; 64.8 by 76.2 cm.

The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This work is in very good condition and should be hung as is. The canvas has never been removed from its original stretcher. Three tacks holding the original canvas to the stretcher have received small reinforcements on the left side of the top edge. The paint layer is stable. The cracking is slightly raised, which is certainly not disturbing and is to be expected for a work from this period. The painting is clean, but an attractive patina of age still remains on the surface. Retouches are visible when the work is examined under ultraviolet light. The retouches could be reexamined, which would considerably reduce the amount of restoration. At the moment, the retouches are applied in small, isolated spots addressing minor losses and slight thinness in the darkest brown colors. Overall, the work is in very good condition, and could certainly be hung in its current state.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Marquis de Balleroy (as recorded in Carnet de la sabretache, 1900);
With Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd;
From whom acquired by the present owner.
Carnet de la sabretache: Revue militaire rétrospective, vol. 8, Paris 1900, p. 782, reproduced plate 727.
Paris, Galerie des Champs-Élysées, Exposition Historique et Militaire de La Révolution et de l'Empire, 1895, no. 629 (as lent Madame la comtesse de Balleroy);
Paris, Exposition Universelle, Exposition rétrospective du travail et des sciences anthropologiques, Section V. Arts Militaires, Cavalerie, no. 93 (as incorrectly attributed to Carle Vernet).

Cesar-René-Marie-Francoise-Rodolphe de Vachon, Count of Belmont-Briançon (1770-1814) was a colonel-major in the 3rd regiment of the Imperial Guards of Honor, a cavalry regiment of Napoleon I. Born into a noble and military family, he took to the battlefields for the French in several cities, including Leipzig, Hanau, and Montmirail, among others. He was fatally wounded, though, on 13 March 1814 at the Battle of Reims, a conflict between Napoleon’s Imperial army and Russian-Prussian troops under the leadership of General Emmanuel de Saint-Priest. Although the French were ultimately victorious, both sides suffered heavy casualties, including Vachon de Belmont-Briançon, who was fatally wounded by a Russian bullet after having been freed by Russian dragoons on the battlefield upon the intervention of François Daguerre. Vachon de Belmont-Briançon’s likeness, however, is posthumously recorded in this striking canvas by Horace Vernet. He stands at the center of the composition in full military regalia, the rich green of his crisp uniform and the red of his cap highlighted against the dark body of his horse behind him. That the two are set against a somewhat more softly rendered battlefield in the background helps to draw attention to their imposing and magnificent figures.  


In beautiful condition, this canvas by Emile Jean-Horace Vernet is a testament to his prodigious talents. The grandson of Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789), the leading French landscape painter, and son of Carle-Vernet, Horace Vernet enjoyed great success during his lifetime, receiving important commissions from esteemed patrons, most notably Louis-Philippe, duc d'Orléans, later King of France. During the 1820s, He was made an officer of the Légion d'honneur and a member of the Institut de France, and following his success at the Paris Salon in 1826 and 1827, he was appointed Director of the French Academy in Rome, a position he held until 1835.


Horace Vernet regularly turned towards French military subjects for inspiration in his works, and he specialized often in battle scenes, including the set commissioned by the duc d’Orleans, as well as portraits of soldiers, some of which, like the present, were painted posthumously. Another example that recently appeared on the market is his portrait of Prince Poniatowski, who died on the battlefield on 19 October 1813, and was painted by Vernet in 1816, a year after the present work.1


1. Signed and dated 1816, oil on canvas, 25.8 by 32.3 inches, sold Sotheby's Paris, 15 June 2017 (lot 121) for $570,361.