Like many enthusiasts, Chalençon has been fascinated by Napoleon since his childhood and acquired his first piece, an autograph letter, as an adolescent.
Since then he has assembled more than 1200 paintings, objects and pieces of furniture relating to Bonaparte, his family and associates, and is still adding to his holdings.
His collection has been on show around the world but has a permanent home at the Palais Vivienne, a Parisian town house in the 2nd arrondissement which Chalençon bought two years ago to be able to display – and live among – a selection of his acquisitions.
Works on show
Around 20 works will be on show at the Biennale.
The selection has been made by Chalençon and his team with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who is the guest artistic director for this year’s Biennale and is responsible for designing the exhibition (to be called l’Empereur sous la verriere).
The exhibits include paintings such as a portrait by Baron Gerard and his atelier showing Napoleon in his coronation costume, which comes from the collection of Tallyrand at the Chateau of Valencay and objects like a monogrammed Imperial glass beaker.