2021 Année Napoléon: the bicentenary of Napoleon’s Death

2021 Année Napoléon: the bicentenary of Napoleon’s Death
Allegory of the exile and death of Napoleon I at St Helena, after Horace Vernet © Fondation Napoléon

“It is my wish that my mortal remains may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well […]”. A few days after expressing this wish in his will, Napoleon I died on 5 May 1821 on the island of St Helena. He was born on 15 August 1769 in Ajaccio. He was a general, First Consul and then Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte had a unique destiny, leaving a deep and lasting mark on the history of France and Europe. In 2021 the Fondation Napoléon worked alongside numerous partner institutions in France and abroad to commemorate the Emperor’s death. This last great Napoleonic bicentenary offered the opportunity to disseminate the most recent historical knowledge on Napoleon’s personality and his work, as well as on his unique legacy.

As a co-producer of numerous events, the Fondation Napoléon lent several hundred objects from its collection to exhibitions produced by prestigious partners, and produced two major new concerts. It supported the production and communication of events (exhibitions, colloquia, study days, talks, concerts and theatrical performances, etc.), as well as publications (exhibition catalogues, books, essays, magazines) of the partners bearing the label “2021 Année Napoléon” including: the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Institut de France and Fondation Dosne-Thiers, the Musée du Château de Fontainebleau, the French Postal Service, the French Domaines on St Helena, the Souvenir Napoléonien, the Échevinat de la Culture de Waterloo, etc, and dozens more.

► Heritage
• The Fondation Napoléon gave financial support for the restoration of the Emperor’s Tomb and the Napoleonic monuments at the Hôtel National des Invalides, as part of the appeal launched with the Musée de l’Armée.
• The Fondation Napoléon is participating, alongside the Cinémathèque française, in the financing of the ambitious restoration/reconstruction project of the full seven-hour version, known as “Apollo”, of Abel Gance’s Napoléon.
• The Fondation Napoléon has granted a sponsorship to the Musée National de la Marine for the restoration of the imperial barge (more information here).
• The Fondation Napoléon has granted a sponsorship for the project to create a statue of Napoleon in Montauban (link in French), on the initiative of the Société des Membres de la Légion d’honneur de Tarn et Garonne.
• The Fondation Napoléon granted a sponsorship for the adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s L’Aiglon by Maryse Estier of the Compagnie Jordils.

► Exhibitions > Coproduction, co-curatorship, lending of artworks
Napoléon n’est plus, Musée de l’Armée, Paris (31 March-19 September 2021). 25 works lent.

► Exhibitions > Coproduction, co-curatorship, lending of artworks
Dessiner pour Napoléon. Trésors de la Secrétairerie d’État impérial, Archives Nationales, Hôtel de Soubise site, Paris (19 May – 18 October 2021). 7 works lent.
Joséphine et Napoléon, une histoire (extra)ordinaire, Maison Chaumet, Paris (8 May -19 July 2021). 39 works lent.
 • Napoleon, Espace Anne Franck, Issy-Les-Moulineaux (7-31 October 2021). 4 works lent

► Exhibitions > lending of artworks
Napoléon, au-delà du mythe, Espace Muséal Calatrava, Liège (Belgium, April 2021-9 January 2022). 24 works lent.
Napoléon, Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais/Grande Halle de La Villette, Paris (14 April -19 September 2021). 26 works lent.
Le vrai visage de l’Empereur, Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, France (5 May – 7 September 2021). 3 works lent.
Souvenirs napoléoniens, Musées de Sens, France (From 5 May 2021). 3 works lent.
Martin-Guillaume Biennais, l’orfèvre de Napoléon Ier, Caillebotte Estate – Yerres, France (29 May -5 October 2021). 4 works lent.
Napoléon, la Légende, Palais Fesch-Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Ajaccio, Corsica (25 June-1er October 2021). 9 works lent.
Napoléon superstar, musée d’histoire locale of the town of Rueil-Malmaison (1 September – 1 October 2021). 6 works lent.
Les palais disparus de Napoléon Ier, Mobilier National, Paris (15 September 2021-15 January 2022). 2 works lent.
Sur les pas de Napoléon Ier à la Monnaie de Paris, Monnaie de Paris, Paris (16 September 2021-6 March 2022). 6 works lent.
• Napoleon I: l’œuvre civile, Musée de la Tour aux puces, Thionville (10 October 2021-15 January 2022). Loan of 25 works.
La Légende de l’Aigle, Atelier Grognard, Rueil-Malmaison (15 October 2021-07 March 2022). Loan of 60 works.
Napoléon, héros de la littérature, Villa Masséna, Nice (15 October 2021-09 January 2022). Loan of 6 works.
Jacques-Louis David: Radical Draftsman, MET, New York (14 February – 15 May 2022). 1 work lent.
Les forteresses de l’Empereur. Napoléon et ses ingénieurs militaires dans l’Europe en guerre, (16 February 20 May 2022) Service historique de la Défense, Vincennes. 2 works lent

► Digital > A series of videos on our YouTube channel, “Napoleonica la chaîne’
• Design and production of a series of educational videos about “Napoleon in exile on St Helena“, (in English and French).

► Concerts > Conception, organisation and production
Mort et transfiguration impériale, Musée de l’Armée, Paris (October 5 and 6, 2021 – Cathédrale Saint-Louis des Invalides): nearly 500 people attended the concerts.

► Symposium, study days, talks > Co-organisation, participation
Napoléon, l’enseignement et les bibliothèques, Bibliothèque Nationale de France (12 March 2021) : co-organisation, with the Institut Napoléon and the BnF, and participation of team members.
La mort de Napoléon – The death of Napoleon, Musée de l’Armée (21, 22 and 23 September 2021): organisation and participation of team members, at the Fondation Napoléon
Cycle of talks by the Cercle d’études of the Fondation Napoléon, to take place at the Fondation premises in Paris: organisation and participation by our team.
Les guerres napoléoniennes dans l’histoire: de 1815 à nos jours, historiographie et apports à l’histoire de la guerre [The Napoleonic wars in history: from 1815 to the present day, historiography and contributions to the history of war], Service Historique de la Défense, Vincennes (30 Nov.-1 Dec. 2021): co-organisation and participation by members of our team.

► Principal publications by our team
• Pierre Branda, Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, Perrin, 2021
• Pierre Branda (editor and comment.), Écrits clandestins de Sainte-Hélène par Napoléon Bonaparte, Perrin, 2021, coll. Bibliothèque de Sainte-Hélène
• Peter Hicks, “Général Buonaparte, notre voisin”: Témoignages anglais sur Napoléon prisonnier (1815-1821), Perrin, to be published in 2022
• François Houdecek (editor and commentary), Cahiers de Sainte-Hélène, les 500 derniers jours (1820-1821), Perrin, 2021, coll. Bibliothèque de Sainte-Hélène
• Thierry Lentz, Napoléon. Dictionnaire historique, Perrin, 2020
• Thierry Lentz, Pour Napoléon, Perrin, 2021

Dessiner pour Napoléon, éditions Michel Lafon, March 2021 (exhibition at the Archives Nationales)
Napoléon n’est plus, éditions Gallimard, April 2021 (exhibition at the Musée de l’Armée)
Napoléon, éditions RMN Grand Palais, April 2021 (exhibition at the RMN/Grande Halle de La Villette)
Joséphine et Napoléon, une histoire (extra)ordinaire, booklet free of charge given to visitors, by appointment, at the Maison Chaumet exhibition.

 Proceedings of the symposium (collaborations)
La mort de Napoléon, CNRS Éditions, sous la dir. de Thierry Lentz et François Lagrange

► The Press: magazine, special issues, TV Documentaries…
Le Point – special issue, Napoléon, la grande aventure, December 2020
• Historia, Cent objets qui ont fait Napoléon, special issue n° 58, March April2021
• Le Figaro, special issue, Napoléon. L’épopée, le mythe, le procès, March 2021

Histoire TV
Toute L’Histoire
• Secrets d’Histoire, France Télévision: “Napoléon, l’exilé de Sainte-Hélène” (1st broadcast: 19 April 2021; audience: 1,745,000 viewers (7.6% PDA); “Toussaint Louverture: la liberté à tout prix” (1st broadcast: 19 April 2021). 19 April 2021; audience: 1,745,000 viewers (7.6% PDA); “Toussaint Louverture: la liberté à tout prix” (1st diff. 10 May 2021; audience: 1,441,000 viewers (6.4% audience share)
• Arte France: “Napoleon. Destiny and death” (available in several languages) 1st diff. 1 May 2021; audience: 813,000 viewers (3.3% PDA); on YouTube 5 May-7 June 2021: 466,182 views and Live version on 5 May with exchanges with the director, 5 May-7 June 2021: 71,449 views; “Napoleon. Der Tod hat sieben Leben, German version of the documentary, 5 May-7 June 2021: 445,323 views); “Das Duell von Napoleon und Metternich (Napoleon – Metternich: the beginning of the end, available in several languages) (1st diff. 8 May 2021; audience: 547,000 viewers (2.4% PDA); on YouTube, “Das Duell von Napoleon und Metternich“, German version of the documentary, 15 May-7 June 2021: 181,247 views)
• France TV/ France 5: La Grande Librairie: “Faut-il commémorer Napoléon?“, with François Busnel (1st broadcast: 24 March 2021; audience: 331,000 viewers (1.3% PDA); on YouTube, 25 March-7 June 2021: 10,931 views)
• France TV/ France 5: Le Doc Stupéfiant ! “Napoléon l’influenceur” (1st broadcast 23 April 2021; audience: 587,000 viewers (2.3% PDA)

– 7.40am and 8.40am: Radio Classique morning show, Guillaume Durand and Franck Ferrand, with Thierry Lentz ► Radio Classique live
– 8.20 a.m.: RTL, Yves Calvi’s morning show, with Pierre Branda ► RTL
– 11:50: Times Radio (the national UK radio station run by the Times Newspapers), with Peter Hicks ► Times Radio
– 13:30: RFI, “De vive(s) voix” by Pascal Paradou with Peter Hicks ► RFI
– 2pm: France 24, with Pierre Branda ► France 24 live
– 14:45-18:30: Le Figaro Live, Charlotte Barillon-Dennebouy with Pierre Branda ► Le Figaro Live
– 6.30 pm: Canal+, “L’info du Vrai” by Yves Calvi, with Thierry Lentz ► Canal+
– 7.20 pm: Europe 1, “Europe Soir” by Julian Bugier, with Pierre Branda ► Europe 1 Soir
– 7.10-8pm: France 24, “The Debate”, with Peter Hicks ► “The Debate”

► Communication and animation on social networks (#2021AnnéeNapoléon)
– the Instagram account of the 2021 Année Napoléon events
– the Fondation Napoléon’s Facebook page (and here in French)
– the Fondation Napoléon’s Twitter account

► Special Bicentennial communication including a series of interviews with curators, historians, collectors, and mini interviews “Mon Napoléon à moi” [My own Napoleon, The French talk to us about Napoleon”], and a photo series “On the road to the 2021 exhibitions with Élodie Lefort” (head of collections).

► The Partners of the “2021 Année Napoléon” and their events.

► A presentation of the Fondation Napoléon team.

► Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter (in French)

Updated 3 February 2021