Chateau de Malicorne. © Artcurial.
On June 13th, Artcurial will disperse part of the collections of the château de Malicorne, in the Sarthe. Built in the 18th century on the ruins of an ancient medieval building, it was acquired in 1850 by Caroline Oudinot, one of the daughters of the Maréchal of the Empire Nicolas-Charles Oudinot (1767-1847). She kept there a part of her father’s collections, which have since remained in the hands of the same family. Comprised of 300 lots, the ensemble includes nearly one hundred of the Maréchal Oudinot’s historical memories.
Among them, the ceremonial uniform worn by the Maréchal during Emperor Napoleon I’s 1804 coronation, estimate €100,000 – 120,000/ $110,000 – 132,000, and personal effects such as his epaulets, military medals, portfolios and a Meerschaum pipe collection.
Many manuscripts and archives complete this set, including an epistolary correspondence of more than 100 letters signed by the duchess de Berry and addressed to the wife of Maréchal Oudinot, her lady in waiting.
Finally, nearly one hundred pieces of furniture and art objects from different eras evocating the lives of the successive inhabitants of the Castle are offered for sale, alongside an exceptional set of silverware, most parts of which are engraved with the family crest.
“We are delighted to relate the exciting history of Napoleon’s most valiant Maréchal of the empire who was nicknamed by the Emperor: the Bayard of the French army, without fear and without reproach!
This sale traces the Maréchal’s exhilarating life, his memories and also the history of the chateau de Malicorne, where this valuable collection has been kept.” –Stéphane Aubert, Associate Director, Inventory & Collections Department, Artcurial
Acquired in 1850 by Caroline Oudinot, the Maréchal’s daughter, the Château de Malicorne is home to parts of her fathers collection. The sale will present nearly one hundred pieces which belonged to the Maréchal Oudinot but also to his eldest son, the brigadier general Nicolas-Charles-Victor Oudinot as well as to several of his grandsons.
Among the highlights of this sale, a rare ceremonial uniform worn by the Maréchal Oudinot created by Jean Baptiste Isabey, painter-portraitist, for the Maréchals, during the 1804 Coronation of Napoleon, also represented in the painting Le sacre de Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David between 1806 and 1807 (estimate: €100,000 – 120,000 / $110,000 – 132,000). A pair of epaulettes belonging to him, estimate €12,000 – 15,000 / $13,200 – 16,500 will join the ensemble, as well as of portfolios and writing desks, estimate between €2,000 and 6,000 / $2,200 – 6,600. Also of interest, the Maréchal de France collected meerschaum pipes, some of which will be presented during the sale, including a large pipe bowl estimated €1,000 and 1,200 /$1,100-1,320.
Nicolas-Charles Oudinot, maréchal de France
Long having remained in the shadow of his contemporaries Murat, Ney and Masséna, Nicolas-Charles Oudinot (1767-1847) was one of the most symbolic figures of French imperial military history. Valiant leader of men, he was loved by his soldiers and famous for having many times defied death on the battle field.
Born on 25th April 1767 in Bar-le-Duc, Nicolas-Charles Oudinot was born to a small bourgeois family from the Meuse. After studies in his hometown followed by Toul, the future marshal enlists into the French army as a soldier. Appointed brigadier general at only 27 years of age, he then takes part in almost all the military campaigns of the Empire, distinguishing himself in every battle. On 25th July 1808, Napoleon grants him the honorary title of Count of the Empire. Oudinot is recognised at the battle of Wagram, after which the Emperor honours him with the Maréchal de France baton and the title of Duc de Reggio.
Following the abdication of Louis Bonaparte, Napoleon entrusts the throne of Holland to the marshal. His first wife François-Charlotte Derlin having recently deceased, he remarries on 19th January 1812 to Marie-Charlotte-Eugénie of Coucy, a young aristocrat from the former regime, who bears him four children and will later become the lady in waiting of the famous duchess de Berry.
Under the July Monarchy, he receives the High function of Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor in 1839, and finally the title of Governor of the Hotel des Invalides. Eight years later, he dies at his home in Paris, at 80 years old.
Mme La Maréchale’s correspondance
The second part of the auction is dedicated to manuscripts, autograph records and the Oudinot family archives. A particular point of interest will be the correspondence and its 100 letters and autographed and signed notes of the duchess of Berry to Mme la Maréchale Oudinot, her lady in waiting (estimate: €12,000 – 15,000 / $13,200 – 16,500); also included are an important set of over 250 printed and bound cards from various countries (estimate: €6,000 – 8,000 / 6,600 – $132,000.)
Also included in the sale, a selection of paintings will be offered at auctions, including an oil on canvas by Isidore Pils, Maréchal Oudinot (estimate: €1,000 – 1,500/ $1,100 – 1,650) and a Portrait de la Duchesse de Berry by François-Joseph Kinson (estimate: €3,000 – 4,000 / $3,300 – 4,400) and amicorum albums belonging to Caroline and Louise Oudinot, the Maréchal’s daughters. They contain hand drawn sketches by Eugène Isabey, Ary Scheffer and François-Alexandre Pernot (estimate: €600 – 700 / $660 – 770).
Furniture and silverware from the Château
Another chapter of the auction will be dedicated to furniture and art objects which furnished and decorated the chateau de Malicorne. Among them, a Louis XV writing desk with flap by Pierre Roussel (estimate: €10,000 – 15,000/ $11,000 – 16,500) and an Empire clock « au trophée de guerre » attributed to the French bronze caster André-Antoine Ravrio, estimate €15,000 – 25,000 / $16,500 – 27 500. A few Asian pieces will also be presented, such as a pair of Chinese bronze enamelled cloisonné elephants from the 19th century Qing Dynasty (estimate: € 6,000 – 8,000/ $6,600 – 8,800).
The dispersal of a part of the chateau’s silverware will close the sale, with an elegant set of shaped pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries, including two embossed silver gravy boats by silversmith Jean-Baptiste Odiot (estimate: €2,000 – 3,000 / $2,200 – 3,300) and rare 18th century silver soap and sponge dishes (estimate: €6,000 – 8,000 / 6,600 – $8,800). Most of the pieces are marked with the family crest, some of which of the 1st Duke of Reggio and of the Empire.