the war of The thrones has taken place, Sunday, 7 April, under the hammer of Jean-Pierre Osenat. Finally a little spectacle, to 17h, in a sale river some 600 numbers are not all extraordinary, except the batch 430, on the cover of the catalog. Feverish, the room waiting for him. She came to the imperial throne with its N in gold embroidered on the red velvet of its case in medallion. The coup de theatre was at the height of its expectations.

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Pierre-Jean Chalençon, collector napoleonic recognizable with her hair to the Polnareff, has kept the public in suspense. The day before, at a dinner between friends given by the auctioneer of Fontainebleau with its associate director, Jean-Christophe Chataignier, he had not hidden his intention to make a bid when the piece mounted in the shape of a throne has arrived in the dessert. The next day, his battle plan was ready. For a diversion, he sent an emissary, his friend David Zienkewicz, to bring to the auction in his place. Positioned at the back of the room, he gave his orders by telephone.

After a long battle between the three phones and another competitor sitting right next to his emissary, the hammer fell to 400,000 euros (500,000 euros with the fees). Of course, Pierre-Jean Chalençon was not expecting to climb so high. He thought to pay around 150,000 euros, but, in his head, it is often “no limit”! “It’s a bargain”, commented “the emperor” of the sales Empire. A glance at the title of the show on France 2, which is one of the main stars. To pay for this trophy, he announced that he was going to do a sale of all the objects, including a sculpture of Rodin, that he has acquired on this show and that he does not know what to do. “The throne will be boneless. The velour fabric is removed. I will present him naked in my Palace, Vivienne, in the glory of the emperor,” said Pierre-Jean Chalençon.

Pierre-Jean Chalençon and his emissary David Zienkewicz at the end of the sale in Fontainebleau. Rebecca Cravenne

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The estimate of 60,000 euros was a price: it does not reflect the reality of the value of this throne, remains difficult to establish given all the material related to discussion even in the days preceding the sale, starting with its authenticity. A doubt maintained by the transformations, some more recent than expected on the feet, the belt, the ornaments and the gilding. They have not escaped the Council of sales, in the framework of its monitoring activity on the course of the auction. The regulatory authority has requested the study Osenat that these details are mentioned in the report of condition of the room given to any interested person.

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Rarely a piece of furniture has generated such controversy! And it has swollen in the last few hours because, in this small community of fans of the Emperor is counting on the fingers of one hand, rivalries are at the height of the ego. Some, like businessman Bruno Ledoux, have not hesitated to say that this throne was “without the shadow of a doubt, that a vulgar copy”. In Release, , an article “anti-throne” has aroused a stir. Jealousy? It seems that Bruno Ledoux would like to be the only one to own one. His, he paid very dearly: a million and a half, it is said, by the broker through Didier Segon. Stamped F. H. G Jacob-Desmalter, he did not, however, from proven nor brand inventory, even if it is represented on the painting by Robert Lefèvre. It just knows that it would have been to the Hotel de Ville of Paris under the Empire.

Many of the thrones on which would sit Napoleon at ceremony have been surely manufactured. It is still necessary to differentiate between imperial throne and simple chair representation. Confusion is skilfully maintained. It adds to the fact that few “real” thrones are come down to us, with a provenance, or a reliable traceability as pointed out by the historian Marie de la Chevardière in her study where she list a dozen other thrones with variants more or less close to the one that was sold at Fontainebleau.

When the student sells the master

For the Osenat, no trace before it is entered in the collections of the museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco, by the intermediary of Michael Henry de Young, u.s. philanthropist to whom he gave the piece of furniture in 1895. It makes the assumption that his maternal grandfather, Benjamin Morange, minister of Napoleon in Spain would have been able to take the throne when iI emigrated to the United States in 1815, to the fall of the Empire. A letter addressed by the curator of the San Francisco gilder active rue de Cléry until 1833, in the purpose of proceeding to an analysis of the wood and therefore to a more accurate dating, should provide new elements for authentication more certain of the throne. It is the last argument out of the hat at the end of the sale by Marie de la Chevardière…

Tarik Bougherira, milf “bonapartist and buyer of art,” as he defines himself, has opened an office at Drouot, under the name Imperial Art. Tarik Bougherira/Imperial Art

Only specialists sharp as the historian David Chanteranne had heard of the existence of this throne sold yesterday. But no one knew where he really was. Until it appeared a year ago, on April 10, 2018, in a sale by Christie’s in New York, where a small, clever – who peels all the catalogues on the Net each day – spotted him. Tarik Bougherira, milf “bonapartist and buyer of art,” as he defines himself, has opened an office at Drouot, under the name Imperial Art. It is a passion. To his great surprise (and that of his partner), he bought the throne american for 6000 dollars, a mouthful of bread. Its fault may have been to recover so quickly in sales. It was drawing the ire of the market. As much as it did not take long to be unmasked. Former assistant of Pierre-Jean Chalençon, Tarik Bougherira has established an inventory of his collection and helped him to his exhibitions abroad, such as the one at this time at the Himalayas Museum in Shanghai. The student wanted to emancipate themselves from the master. One understands it. But this last one does not hear any of this ear.

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This award, strongly contested, for 400,000 euros to a hammer, silencing all the critics. She gives the throne a new credibility. The name of the buyer, Pierre-Jean Chalençon, too. It is a pledge given the quality of his collection which is negotiatione more expensive in the world. At the end of the sale, he received a text message of congratulation to Simon of Monicault, director of the department of furniture and art objects from Christie s. He always argued that there was no doubt and no ambiguity about the fact that this piece of furniture presented by his house to be “a copy of an imperial throne dating back to the end of the Nineteenth century, executed after a design by François-Honoré Jacob-Desmalter”. Would he have changed his opinion even if he cannot judge?

His counterparts in New York are visibly passed next to the subject or have not taken the time to dig out the case. The museum of San Francisco may well wake up. And request explanations from the views of the enormous gain made on Sunday in Fontainebleau, france.