We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Vive l'Empereur!



Edouard Detaille


05 Oct 1848 – 23 Dec 1912

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807
    Vive l'Empereur!
    Alternative title
    Vive l'Empereur charge du quatrième hussards à la bataille de Friedland, 14 juin 1807
    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    370.0 x 437.5 cm sight; 376.0 x 445.0 cm stretcher; 445.0 x 512.5 x 14.0 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.r, "Edouard Detaille 1891".

    Purchased 1893
    South Building, ground level, Grand Courts
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Edouard Detaille

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘I sought to render the effect of a cavalry charge under the eyes of the Emperor and reconstruct the physiognomy of those men, who were going to their deaths covered with gold embroidery.’
    - Edouard Detaille

    Celebrated military painter Edouard Detaille’s grandiose ‘Vive l’Empereur!’ is a retrospective image that recaptures the terrifying drama of a charge of 4th Hussar Regiment during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15), though the scene does not represent any specific battle. Painted several decades after the Napoleonic Wars had ended, this glorified military depiction captures the splendour and pathos of war in a thundering portrayal of Napoleon’s illustrious calvary, whose feats were greatly embellished during the 19th century.

    The Art Gallery purchased the painting in 1893 for four-fifths of its entire acquisition budget for that year. As one of its most popular works, the gallery was happily able, in 2014, to add to the collection Basile Lemeunier’s ‘Portrait of Edouard Detaille’, showing Detaille at work on his vast canvas.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 11 publications

  • Provenance

    Source unknown, Purchased by the AGNSW in Paris 1893