Napoléon III (1808–1873), Emperor of the French

Artist: Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (French, Valenciennes 1827–1875 Courbevoie)

Date: 1873

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): 20 1/2 x 14 1/2 x 11 3/8 in. (52.1 x 36.8 x 28.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Anne and George Blumenthal Fund, Munsey and Fletcher Funds, funds from various donors, Agnes Shewan Rizzo Bequest and Mrs. Peter Oliver Gift, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.297


In 1871, Carpeaux was invited to sculpt the emperor while they were both in exile in England. Sittings in 1872 were interrupted by the emperor’s illness, and Carpeaux arrived at Chislehurst too late by one day: Napoleon III died January 9, 1873, and the marble is dated January 13, implying that Carpeaux touched up his model after viewing the corpse.