General Étienne-Maurice Gérard (1773–1852)

Jacques Louis David French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 633

David’s role in the French Revolution and service to Napoleon forced the artist to go into exile in Brussels following the emperor’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815. This portrait, one of the first that he painted of the city’s émigré, imperial aristocracy, represents General Gérard, a highly decorated commander of the French army during both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic regimes. David seems to make no concession to the changed political climate in this portrait, which is among his most resplendent and commanding, recording Gérard with a strikingly vibrant palette and sharp realism.

General Étienne-Maurice Gérard (1773–1852), Jacques Louis David (French, Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), Oil on canvas

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