- Other Titles
- Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807
- 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
- Grand Courts
- Accession number
- Artist information
Works in the collection
‘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.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Salon and Academie: the charm of tradition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Nov 1984–May 1985
Grand Courts Collection Rehang, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Nov 2021–2025
Unknown, Union Artistique, Union Artistique, , Unknown–Unknown
Unknown, Duval's, Duval's, London, Unknown–Unknown
Referenced in 11 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 2003 [for the year ended 30 June 2003], Sydney, 2003, pp 7, 34, col illus cover page & p 7.
Sarah Couper, Look, ‘Studio visit – Inside the Blue Mountains studio of Gallery framer David Butler’, Sydney, Sep 2017-Oct 2017, pp 64–68: p 68.
Richard Holmes, The Napoleonic Wars experience, 2006, col illus p 36.
Jean Humbert, Edouard Detaille l'heroisme d'un siècle, Paris, 1979, np, plate no 26.
Stewart Laidler and Craig Wilcox, Look, 'Salvation of a neglected work', Sydney, Nov 2002, pp 18–19, col illus p 18.
Lenny Ann Low, Look, 'A day in the life of a painting', Sydney, Mar 2019-Apr 2019, pp 6, 55–60, col illus pp 5, 55–60 (in situ).
Chiara O'Reilly, Journal of the history of collections, vol 32, no 2, 'Collecting French art in the late 1800s at the Art Gallery of New South Wales', Jul 2020, pp 313–25: pp 314, 318–23, col illus p 316, fig 5.
Peter Raissis, The Sydney Modern Project. Transforming the Art Gallery of New South Wales, "Past and present: the place of historical European art in Sydney", Sydney, 2022, pp 126–39: p 132.
Bernard William Smith, The Boy Adeodatus, Australia, 1984, p 179.
Marius Vachon, Detaille, Paris, 1898, pp 143, 170.
Anna Waldmann, Renée Free and Nicholas Draffin, Salon and Académie: the charm of tradition: a catalogue of nineteenth-century European salon works, Sydney, 1984, pp [7, 22–23], illus p .
Source unknown, Purchased by the AGNSW in Paris 1893