Lot 33: EDOUARD DETAILLE (FRENCH 1848-1912)
19th Century European Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors, and Sculpture
May 25, 1994
New York, NY, USA
Description: LE GENERAL BOURBAKI signed and dated twice Edouard Detaille/(1883.)/Mai 1908. lower right - - oil on canvas 59 x 47 in. (149.8 x 119.4 cm.) Edouard Detaille was commonly regarded as the official painter of the French Army. In 1883 he had begun work on a large collaborative painting with Alphonse Marie de Neuville entitled Panorama de Rezonville depicting General Bourbaki saluting Marshall Canrobert. Our painting is a detail of that picture. Charles Denis Soter Bourbaki was born in Pau on April 22, 1816, the son of a Greek colonel who had been killed in the War of Independence. Bourbaki followed in his father's footsteps and quickly distinguished himself by rising through the ranks of the Zouaves until he became general of the brigade in 1854. In 1869 he acted as an aide de camp to Napoleon III, and in 1870 he took part in the defence of Metz. Following that he attended the ex-Empress in London until he was called by Gambetta to organize the Northern Army of the Loire which was charged with the task of releasing Belfort. This campaign, though initially successful, ended with his retreat to the borders of Switzerland. Bourbaki spent the following years in Lyons where he was named Governor in 1873. In 1881 he retired from his military career and passed into the ranks of the reserves.