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Audio: Alexandre Benoit Jean Dufay, Casanova's Portrait of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
Alexandre Benoit Jean Dufay, Casanova (Paris 1770-1844)
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Alexandre Benoit Jean Dufay, Casanova (Paris 1770-1844)

Portrait of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), full-length, in coronation robes

Details
Alexandre Benoit Jean Dufay, Casanova (Paris 1770-1844)
Portrait of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), full-length, in coronation robes
signed 'CASANOVA 1809' (lower left)
oil on canvas
88½ x 57¾ in. (224.8 x 146.7 cm.)

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Lot Essay

Step-brother of Giacomo Casanova, the famous Venetian adventurer and memoirist and François-Joseph Casanova, the battle painter, Alexandre Dufay was a pupil of Jacques-Louis David and a favorite of Napoleon's Director-General of Museums, the powerful Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825). Most of Dufay's surviving works were produced under Denon's patronage, including his most famous painting, a depiction of the Marriage Banquet of Napoleon and Maria-Luisa in the 'Salle de Spectacle'of the Tuileries Palace (Château de Fontainbleau; Salon of 1812). Denon's administrative correspondence of 1808 refers repeatedly to a commission to Dufay to execute a portrait of Napoleon Ier en habits imperiaux (which may be lost); an anonymous copy of the painting, with later additions on all four sides, is in the château of Versailles (MV 2280). The present autograph version of the composition is signed and dated 1809.

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