Installed in 1986 in the Louis XV wing of the Château de Fontainebleau, the Napoleon I Museum aims to “present the First Empire in its many facets” through a collection of more than 3000 works, combining the concepts of both “historical charge and decorative function”. Paintings or sculptures, portraits, weapons, artefacts, drawings or archival documents allow us to retrace the Emperor’s dazzling career while testifying to the splendour of the cultural and artistic life of this period when creativity was in the service of the glory of the Empire. Born out of the donation made out by Prince and Princess Napoleon in 1979, then completed in 1988, the museum’s Napoleon collection has been considerably enriched in recent years, making it necessary to revamp the museum.
In a new museographical layout, recent acquisitions will notably be the subject of a special presentation. In this way, the public will be able to admire the “cabaret” of the princesses of the Imperial family, a service made from Sevres porcelain (classified as a national treasure and acquired, with four other lots, thanks to a public subscription), an ivory miniature by Jean-Baptiste Isabey representing the King of Rome. Among the must-see items in the museum’s collection is also the gold bay leaf from Napoleon’s coronation regalia, another rare example of which has just been auctioned off for the extraordinary sum of €625,000, but also a portrait of Empress Josephine in costume dress by François Gérard, made around 1807-1808, or indeed the large Etruscan vase decorated with scenes of Napoleon thaumaturge by Pierre-Nolasque Bergeret.