• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 3066

    Old Masters & 19th Century Art - including Dutch Impressionism

    15 - 16 November 2016, Amsterdam

  • Lot 188

    Albrecht Adam (Nördlingen1786-1862 München)

    In der Schlacht an der Moscwa: Napoleon's army during the Battle of Borodino, Moscow


    Albrecht Adam (Nördlingen1786-1862 München)
    In der Schlacht an der Moscwa: Napoleon's army during the Battle of Borodino, Moscow
    signed and dated 'A Adam. 1832' (lower right) and inscribed with the title 'In der Schlacht an der Moscwa / nach der natur gezeichnet von Albrecht Adam / am 7ten September 1812.' (on the reverse)
    oil on copper
    39 x 59 cm.

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    Depicted is the Battle of Borodino which was fought on 7th September 1812 in the Napoleonic Wars during the French invasion of Russia. The fighting involved around 250,000 troops and left at least 70,000 casualties, making Borodino the deadliest day of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon's Grande Armée launched an attack against the Russian army, driving it back from its initial positions but failing to gain a decisive victory. Both armies were exhausted after the battle and the Russians withdrew from the field the following day. Borodino represented the last Russian effort at stopping the French advance on Moscow, which fell a week later. However, the French had no clear way of forcing Czar Alexander to capitulate because the Russian army was not decisively defeated, resulting in the ultimate defeat of the French invasion following the retreat from Moscow in October.

    Albrecht Adam was a famous painter of battlefields and horses. After participating in the Austrian campaign of 1809, he stayed for a time in Vienna, where he drew the attention of Napoleon's stepson Eugène de Beauharnais and Viceroy of Italy and he was appointed his court painter. In 1812 Adam accompanied Eugène's staff on the expedition to Russia. He attached himself to the Viceroy's topographical bureau, a small unit of enigeers, carthographers and draughtsmen which had been established in 1801. Most of Adam's subsequent works deal with Napoleon's Russian campaign, during which he was attached to the Bavarian contingent as a war artist. In 1815, Adam moved to Munich, where he was occupied by the emperors and kings of Austria and Bavaria and he worked until a great age, recording battles and portraying horses.


    Acquired by a German entrepreneur circa 1830-40 during his travels in the South of Europe and Germany, and by descent to the present owner.