Joséphine’s antiques

Calliope Collection of Josephine

Calliope Collection of Josephine

I had missed the exhibition titled De Pompéi à Malmaison, les antiques de Joséphine, at Malmaison and only discovered its existence today thanks to a poster in the metro!

Joséphine Bonaparte purchased the Château of Malmaison, a few miles west of Paris, in 1799, only months before her husband seized power and became First Consul. The estate was the couple’s unofficial country residence, and Bonaparte “commuted” between the Palace of the Tuileries, in the heart of Paris, and Malmaison. It very much became Joséphine’ private domain, as Trianon had been for Marie-Antoinette. After her divorce, she retired there permanently until her death in 1814.

Joséphine was an amateur of antiques, then very much in fashion, and gathered at Malmaison a collection of 300 Greek and Roman vases, bronzes and paintings.

These were scattered by Joséphine’s heirs but fortunately the Louvre was able to purchase most of the artifacts, which are now part of its permanent collections. This means that we shouldn’t expect any revelations, but this show provides a nice opportunity to revisit Malmaison and see these objects displayed in their former setting.

Musée national du Château de Malmaison, until January 26, 2009.

Josephine by Gerard

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12 Comments to “Joséphine’s antiques”

  1. josephine says:

    my name is josephine too..

  2. Ivan Navarro says:

    I did have the blessing, in the past, to visit, Mamaison Chateau, what a divine, place, for a moment, I was find my self in the begining of the 19 century, thank you lovely work.

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    You are welcome, Felio!
    Josephine loved flowers too, and she did much to popularize new plant species, like hydrangeas, in France and Europe.

  4. Felio Vasa says:

    Limoges did a series of plates with Josephine (& some w/ Napoleon) on them- I think from the ’80’s.
    She had great taste & style!
    Merci Beaucoup for these great blogs!

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Certainly, and let’s not forget Tocqueville.

  6. Catherine Delors says:

    You are welcome, Elisa. I will try to fit Malmaison in my fall schedule, and report on this.

  7. Crescendo says:

    Very interesting blog ! But the best referencesabout french revolution are in french : Michelet, Thiers, Mignet, Blanc, Quinet et more recently Soboul and Soria !

  8. Elisa says:

    Thanks! I loved Sandra Gulland’s “Josephine B” trilogy. I got a different view on her after reading her novels and her website.

  9. Catherine Delors says:

    Oh great, I can’t wait to hear your opinion.

    And speaking of reigning women, I am working on a post on Anne of Austria for tomorrow (a pink ribbon) and for next week one on Marie Leszczyńska, as a prelude to my upcoming series on the daughters of Louis XV.

  10. Oh I’m sure it is less ambitious..but the need to know more about these reigning women can’t be bad..
    I’m waiting for your book arrive btw

  11. Catherine Delors says:

    You’ll make me blush, Carol! I believe this is far less ambitious than the M-A exhibit, but still very interesting. And this is the perfect season to visit Malmaison, Versailles, Chantilly… The weather is still sunny and the fall foliage is gorgeous. Hurry!

  12. Oh excellent! I wonder if this was inspired a bit by the M-A exhibit…
    I have no idea how I existed before I found your site Catherine!!
    Life was a barren desert…
    Big Merci

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