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US billionaire and art collector Christopher Forbes to offer collection of Napoleonic items
A man sweeps the floor during a press preview in Paris on February 23, 2016 of US billionaire and art collector Christopher Forbes' private collection on Napoleon III, set to be auctioned in March. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP.
PARIS.- The name Forbes is famous throughout the world. A business magazine read by over 5 million people... a building on New York’s Fifth Avenue... a family that has been collecting objects for generations...

But what has incited one member of the family to sell his collection of Napoleonic items? And why did this American billionaire choose to sell them in Fontainebleau ?

Christopher Forbes, Vice-Chairman of the Forbes publishing company, has been passionate about France and its history – above all Napoleon III and the Second Empire – ever since his father gave him a portrait of Napoleon III when he was a teenager, and has criss-crossed the world in search of Napoleonic items. Mr Forbes is also known for acquiring one of the world’s most expensive bottles of wine (a 1787 Château Lafitte for €140,000) and as the owner of a Château in Normandy.

Mr Forbes decided to sell his collection in France after meeting Fontainebleau auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat, the world’s leading specialist in Napoleonic sales. The Osenat auction-house has regularly hit the headlines in recent years – selling Napoleon’s sabre for nearly €5 million, and a letter in Napoleon’s hand for €187,000.... In November 2014, the firm was chosen by Prince Albert of Monaco to auction the Principality’s collection of Napoleonic souvenirs – generating a record price of €1.88m for Napoleon’s hat.

Now, on 5 & 6 March 2016, it is the turn of Christopher Forbes to offer his private collection for sale in Fontainebleau. Its 500 pictures include Winterhalter portraits of Napoleon III and Empess Eugénie, and there are over 1,300 letters and manuscripts written by Napoleon I, Napoleon III, Empress Eugénie and the Prince Impérial.

A prestigious visitor will grace the saleroom for the occasion: Christopher Forbes himself. He has no intention of missing what should be quite a show !

A Dynasty – A Passion – A Life
The brilliant entrepreneur Christopher ‘Kip’ Forbes has successfully developed the family firm founded by his grandfather Bertie Charles Forbes in 1917.

He began at Forbes Magazine as head of the advertising department, becoming Vice-Chairman of Forbes Publishing in 1989. Today Forbes Magazine is internationally recognized for its Rich Lists and, above all, for supplying in-depth economic and financial analysis to the business world.

Christopher Forbes’ professional success and obligations have not prevented him becoming a committed patron of the arts. He has always appreciated French elegance and refinement, and holds France in especial affection. His father took part in the Liberation, falling in love with the Château de Balleroy in Normandy before buying it, undertaking its extensive and lengthy restoration, then opening it to the public. Business leaders, artists and personalities from around the world have been entertained at the Château by Christopher Forbes.

Mr Forbes founded the American Friends of the Louvre, and served as President for over a decade – helping the Louvre obtain major funding, significantly improve its visitor facilities, enrich its collections and reinforce its scientific research programmes. Then, at the demand of Henri Loyrette, head of the Louvre, Mr Forbes launched the International Council of the Louvre during the Napoleon exhibition in Beijing in 2008, to support international projects and boost the Louvre’s global reputation.

Mr Forbes has been passionately interested in Napoleon III and the Second Empire ever since his father gave him a portrait of Napoleon III when he was 16, and is keen to stress the political, social, cultural and artistic importance of a figure who, while relatively little-known today, was ‘France’s final sovereign, and the first democratically elected President of the Republic.’






Today's News

February 25, 2016

US billionaire and art collector Christopher Forbes to offer collection of Napoleonic items

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