The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, August 22, 2014


Napoleon's letter in which he vows to 'blow up Kremlin' for sale in Fontainebleau
A letter dictated and signed by Napoleon in secret code that declares his intentions "to blow up the Kremlin" during his ill-fated Russian campaign is displayed for the media in Fontainebleau, outside Paris. The rare letter, written in unusually emotive language, sees Napoleon complain of harsh conditions and the shortcomings of his grand army. The letter goes on auction Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. AP Photo/Christophe Ena.
PARIS (AFP).- A coded letter in which Napoleon Bonaparte vows to blow up the Kremlin goes under the hammer near Paris in December, 200 years after the French invasion of Russia.

"I will blow up the Kremlin on the 22nd at three am," reads the missive written in numbers and signed "Nap", expected to fetch between 10,000 and 15,000 euros (13,000 to 20,000 dollars) at the sale in Fontainebleau.

Dated October 20, 1812, the day after Napoleon retreated from the centre of Moscow, it is addressed to his external relations minister Hugues-Bernard Maret.

Napoleon's order was carried out by Marshal Mortier, who destroyed several towers and sections of wall at the Kremlin, at the time both an imperial palace and military fortress. The towers were later rebuilt identically.

"Letters written by Napoleon from Russia are rare," said Alain Nicolas, expert for the auctioneer Ocenat. "Many were lost, probably intercepted by the Russians."

In the letter, currently in private hands, Napoleon asks his minister to gather supplies and to find more horses for his troops, many of which had perished in the freezing weather bearing down on the region.

Another star lot of the sale, an "Essay on campaign fortification" dictated and annotated by Napoleon while in exile on the British island of Saint Helena, the fallen emperor mulls over the outcome of the Russian invasion.

"It should not be called a retreat since the army was victorious," he writes of the campaign, today seen as a turning point in the Napoleonic wars that dramatically weakened French power in Europe.

Napoleon's army entered Moscow on September 14, 1812, but much of the population had already fled and the emperor was forced to leave without securing a formal victory over Alexander I, embarking on a disastrous westward retreat.

"Napoleon argued that the Russian winter was his sole victor, insisting the campaign would have gone differently had it taken place three months earlier," explained the auction house.

"While in exile on Saint Helena, Napoleon kept endlessly mulling over his battle and military strategy, dictating to the loyal General Bertrand," added Jean-Christophe Chataignier, head of Empire department at the house.

The "Essay", which comes from General Bertrand's family, is part of a lot of 180 double-sided manuscript pages and 44 sketches, dated between July 1818 and August 1819 and estimated at 60,000 to 80,000 euros.

pcm/ec/hmn


© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse



Today's News

November 30, 2012

"The thousand and one nights" exhibition casts a spell at the Arab World Institute in Paris

Christie's London Autumn Russian Art Week Sales achieve a combined $26.7 million

Sotheby's London November 2012 Russian Art Sales Series concludes realising $33 million

Napoleon's letter in which he vows to 'blow up Kremlin' for sale in Fontainebleau

Mandala for Crusoe: New works by Francesco Clemente at Blain/Southern in London

Jimi Hendrix owned and worn 'gypsy style' vest leads Heritage Auctions entertainment and music event

Sotheby's Paris announces sale of Art Nouveau masterpieces formerly in the Garden Museum, Nagoya

Exhibition in Los Angeles explores maps and monuments through diverse works

Survey of American artist Gary Simmons's career opens at Metro Pictures in New York

Exhibition of new paintings by Carroll Dunham opens at Gladstone Gallery in New York

Toledo Museum of Art acquires sculpture by noted Spanish artist Jaume Plensa

New mixed media paintings by American artist Greg Miller at Scream Gallery in London

'World's largest horse-drawn hearse: 19th-century carriage is a Czech museum hit

Tick, Tack, Tick, Tack, Tick: Stuart Whipps exhibits at David Dale Gallery in Glasgow

Crusader sword captured from Mamluk Arsena in Alexandria gives £163,250 edge to Bonhams sale

"Bubbles and bankruptcy: Financial crises in Britain since 1700" opens at the British Museum

Entire collection of decorative arts recently acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia goes on display

Survey of the work by contemporary photographer Jeff Wall opens at the National Gallery of Victoria

Sotheby's Milan sells a small canvas by Giorgio Morandi for 420,750 Euro

New series of Photorealist oil paintings by Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri on view at Mike Weiss Gallery

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Mystery over massive Alexander the Great-era tomb unearthed in northern Greece

2.- An ancient money box containing a large rare hoard of coins found in Israel

3.- Robin Williams' portrait installed today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

4.- The Baltimore Museum of Art announces three new contemporary exhibitions in fall

5.- New Aspen Art Museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban opens to the public

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art launches 82nd & Fifth app in 12 languages

7.- MoMA online-only publication features new research on Pablo Picasso and Cubism

8.- Volunteers needed for massive Smithsonian digitization project

9.- Tate Britain welcomes home John Everett Millais's Ophelia and Rossetti’s The Beloved

10.- Bogart estate: Hollywood golden age icon Lauren Bacall dead at 89 in New York



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site