Arc de Triomphe, Paris: loan by the Fondation Napoléon of a bust of Napoleon (December 2018)

Bust of Napoleon I, after Chaudet (inv. 94) © Fondation Napoléon


On Saturday 1 December 2018, demonstrators broke into the museum inside the Arc de Triomphe (at the Place de l’Etoile, Paris) and vandalised the interieur causing extensive damage. Among the artworks which were attacked was a bust of Napoleon I after Chaudet, a long-term loan by the Musée du Louvre.

Following these events, the Fondation Napoléon and its President, Victor-André Masséna, Prince d’Essling, offered to lend to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and its President, Philippe Bélaval, a bust of Napoleon I, also after Chaudet, from the Fondation’s collections (INV 94) until the broken sculpture is restored.

This bust is one of the most widely distributed of the official effigies of Emperor Napoleon I. Antoine-Denis Chaudet received an order for a statue of Napoleon Législateur intended for the Corps législatif. It was inaugurated on 14 January 1805, but was later stolen by the Prussians, in 1815. Based on this statue, the sculptor produced a bust of Napoleon (June or July 1804) as an antique Herm. A plaster cast of this latter was sent to Carrara, and many copies were made of it in marble from 1807 onwards.

The installation of this sculpture from the Fondation Napoléon Collection took place at the Arc de Triomphe on Monday 10 December, ready for the re-opening of the museum to the public scheduled for Wednesday 12 December 2018.

More information on the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

Tuesday 11 December 2018

  • The bust of Napoleon I (after Chaudet, inv. 94) lent by the Fondation Napoléon to the Arc de Triomphe until the broken one (lent by the Louvre) is repared, December 2018 © Fondation Napoléon
  • The damaged bust (lent by the Louvre) and the maquette of the Arc de Triomphe © Fondation Napoléon
  • A delicate operation: the bust of Napoleon is installed by the company Chenue © Fondation Napoléon
  • The bust is unpacked by the company Chenue © Fondation Napoléon
  • Arrival of the bust of Napoleon at the Arc de Triomphe (transported by the company Chenue) © Fondation Napoléon