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View full screen - View 1 of Lot 49. 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

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

Auction Closed

May 25, 03:13 PM GMT


80,000 - 120,000 USD

Lot Details


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.

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.