The town of Boulogne-Billancourt is turning back time in a new exhibition at the Bibliothèque Paul-Marmottan, exploring the history of entertainment under the Empire. Whilst most people know about the Emperor’s campaigns, it is often overlooked that France’s contemporary card games and casinos also arose under Napoleon.
This exhibition looks at Napoleon’s contribution to the history of games between 1790 and 1830, and subjects surrounding power and the game, luck and betting. There is a special focus on the figure player, the places where the games took place, and the different rules of the games played at the beginning of 19th century in France.
Curated by Jean-Marie Lhôte and of Thierry Depaulis, the exhibition is displaying 130 works, including paintings, engravings, and a number of objects, which will be coming from the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Fondation Dosne-Thiers, the Musée National de la Malmaison, the Palais du Roi de Rome in Rambouillet; the Fondation Napoléon, the Musée de la carte à jouer in Issy-les-Moulineaux, the Musée Carnavalet, the Swiss Museum of Games, the Musée de l’Armée, and from a variety of private lenders. The exhibition will also be establishing a new partnership with the National Centre of Games (CNJ in French) which is located in the Trapèze district of Boulogne-Billancourt.
From card-maker to game-maker, chess to cavagnole, and from the lottery to fortune-telling, the exciting arena of games will appeal to both children and adults…
The Marmottan garden will be open to visitors of the exhibition during the month of July. There will be plenty of games to try out.