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# 41901

Johann Heinrich Schroeder "Napoleonic General Maison and His Wife", two superior pastels!, 1811/12

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These two pastel portraits were discovered in October 2014 through the French antique trade as works of an unknown German artist. In reality, they represent a pair of portraits of celebrated Napoleon's general (and from 1829 - Marshal of France) Nicolas Joseph Maison and his German wife Madeleine (Magdalena Franziska), nee Weygold (or Weydold) which were executed in 1811/12 by well-known German pastelist Johann Heinrich Schroeder.

Nicholas Joseph Maison was born on the 19th of December 1771 in Epinay-sur-Seine by Paris, and died on the 13th of February 1840 in Paris.
In 1789, he joined the Garde nationale of his native Epinay, where he served at first as a simple grenadier. Later, he was promoted to corporal, sergeant-major and, finally, in 1791, to capitaine (captain).
On the 22nd of July 1791, he joined as volunteer the 3rd Bataillon de Paris and, on the 1st August 1792, was appointed Captain of the 9th Bataillon de Fédérés Nationaux (Volunteers). At the beginning of the Revolutionary Wars, Maison distinguished himself in the Battle of Jemappes (see our web # 36227; in this battle, he rescued the banner of his battalion). On the 20th of January 1794, he was appointed a temporary aide-de-camp of General Goguet; on the 29th of March of the same (1794) year, he was at Guise; on the 22nd of April - was appointed a temporary aide-de-camp of General Mireur; on the 29th of May, he received a sabre-wound in the Battle of Maubeauge; on the 26th of June, participated in the Battle of Fleurus, in which he received three sabre-wounds; on the 16th of October, at Cadenbach by Ehrenbrechstein, Maison captured an enemy's cannon and received a gun-shot injury in the left arm.
On the 18th of July 1795, he was reattached to the retinue of General Bernadotte; then, on the 24th of October 1796, reappointed General Mireur's aide-de-camp. On the 6th of July 1796 he received a bullet wound at Limburg and was (on the same day) promoted to "chef-de-bataillon". On the 3rd of September 1796, while in combat at Wurzburg with his grenadier battalion, Maison was wounded once again.
On the 5th of February 1797 he was reappointed as Bernadotte's aide-de-camp. On the 16th of March 1797 he partook in the passage over the Tagliamento River in Italy; on the 19th of March, he took part in the Capture of Gradisca.
On the 3rd of July 1799, he was appointed an adjutant-general and "chef de brigade" of the Army of Holland. During the Battle of Alkmaë (Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland), on the 2nd of October 1799, he was wounded once again.
On the 23rd of September 1802, he was appointed the chief of staff of the 27th Division Militaire. From the 31st of May 1804 he served in the Army of Hanover as General Bernadotte's chief-aide-de-camp. On the 29th of August of the same (1804) year he became "adjutant-commandant-sous-chef" at the headquarters of the 1st Corps of Grande Armée.
On the 2nd of December 1805, Maison took part in the Battle of Austerlitz. His promotion to brigade general followed on the 10th of February 1806, and, on the 8th of August of the same (1806) year, he received a brigade of the 1st Division (Rivaud) of the 1st Corps under his command. On the 9th of October, together with his brigade, Maison was at Schleiz; on the 17th of October - at Halle, and, on the 3rd of November took part in the Capture of Schwerin; on the 6th of November was at Lübeck. On the 30th of November, he was appointed (instead of Leopold Berthier) General Bernadotte's chief of staff. On the 6th of June 1807, he was appointed chief of staff of the 1st Corps of Grande Armée under the command of Victor. On the 14th of June he took part in the Battle of Friedland. On the 12th January 1808 he became Commander of the 1st Brigade (comprised of the 16th Regiment of Light Infantry and the 45th Regiment of Line Infantry) in Division Lapisse (see our web # 27725 and # 38667). On the 17th of March, Maison received from Napoleon a grant in sum of 4000 francs and, on the 2nd of July of the same year, was ennobled by the Emperor to Baron of Empire. Together with the division Lapisse he had gone to Spain; was on 10-11th of November in Espinosa; on the 3rd of December he received a leg wound in Madrid.
On the 7th of June 1809, he was transferred to the Observation Corps stationed on the bank of the Elbe and, on the 13th of August - to the 8th Corps of Junot. He then served in the armies of Antwerp, North, Observation Corps of Holland, the Division Lagrand, and in the 17th Military Division in Holland.
On the 25th of July 1811 he was awarded Bavarian Military Order of Maximilian Joseph and appointed commandant of department Lippe. On the 30th of October 1811, in Utrecht, he received the command over the brigade comprised of the 93rd, 56th, 18th, and 124th Regiments of Line Infantry. On the 25th of December of the same year, he became the Commander of the 2nd Brigade of 6th Division (Legrand) in Observation Corps on the Elbe.
On the 1st of April 1812, he became the Commander of the 3rd Brigade of Division Legrand in the 2nd Corps of Grande Armée under Oudinot.
He participated in the Russian Campaign of 1812; was at Polotsk on the 18-19th of August and, two days later, on the 21st of August, was promoted to division general and received under his command the 8th Division of the 2nd Corps of the Grande Armée. On 18-20th of October, he again fought at Polotsk. In November 1812, his division covered the retreat of the remaining French troops to River Weichsel (Vistula) .
He served in the campaign of 1813 and, after Marshal MacDonald's defeat at the Katzbach (Kaczawa) was once again tasked with leading the retreat. After the Battle of Leipzig‚ where he was wounded‚ he was given the Grand Cross of the Légion d'Honneur (Chevalier - on the 5th of February 1804; Officer - on the 16th of June 1804; Commander - on the 22nd of November 1808) and was made a Count of the Empire. In 1814 he was also tasked with what is now Belgium and the port of Antwerp.
After the abdication of the Emperor, Maison rallied to Louis XVIII of France, who made him a Knight of St. Louis and appointed him Governor of Paris. During the Hundred Days Maison stayed loyal to the Bourbons and joined them when they fled to Ghent.
After the 2nd Restoration, he was made the Commandant of the 1st Military Division. He was put on the court martial appointed to judge Marshal Ney on a charge of treason for joining Napoléon but after he and his colleagues declared themselves incompetent he was demoted to command of the 8th Military Division in Marseilles.
In 1817, Maison was created a marquis and a Peer of France by Louis XVIII. In 1828 he was given Command of the French Expeditionary Corps in the Morea (the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece) against Ibrahim Pasha. Upon his return to France in 1829 he was created a Marshal of France by Charles X.
In 1830, he joined the July Revolution and in November 1830, for a few weeks, served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, after which he was sent to Vienna as Ambassador. In 1833 he was sent as Ambassador to St. Petersburg in Russia.
Maison served as the Minister of War from the 20th of April 1835 to the 19th of September 1836 - a post, after which he retired from public life altogether
. As mentioned above, he died in Paris in 1840.

Back on the 18th of December 1796, at the age of 25, Maison married in Simmern, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany) the six years his junior Magdalena Franzisca Weygold (also Weydold; 26 December 1776 - 3 December 1851 Dusseldorf; see our image nr.32). In the portrait, which is on view here, he is already a brigade general with two stars on his epaulettes (his promotion took place on the 10th of February 1806). He bears the Officer Cross of the 3rd Model (the rays are not yet fitted with balls atop its rays) of the Legion d'Honneur (conferred on the 16th of June 1804), and the Cross of Bavarian Military Order of Maximilian Joseph (he was awarded it on the 25th of July 1811).
Thus, we have clear time margins of the execution of General Maison's portrait (and, respectively, his wife's (as the matter of fact, she is dressed and hair-styled in fashion of ca. 1810; see also our comparison image nr.33)): it was painted between the 25th of July 1811 (on that day he was awarded Bavarian Order) and the 21st of August 1812 (on this day Maison was raised to division general and received the third star on his epaulettes). It seems that he ordered his and his wife's portraits before joining the Russian Campaign of 1812.
As mentioned in his biography above, in the period between these two dates, General Maison served in ranks of the Grande Armée stationed on the territory of the modern Germany. Thus, the conclusion is forced upon us: the author of both portraits was a 1st-class (note the obvious high quality of execution) German pastelist. Moreover, we are certain that he was the same Johann Heinrich Schroeder, who several years earlier made a portrait of Napoleonic General Hulin (see our web # 41900 ; note the absolutely same stylistic criteria of both portraits!!).

For additional biographical information about General Maison, CLICK HERE and HERE.

The best German pastelist of the late 18th century Johann Heinrich Schroeder (Schröder) was born in 1757 in Meiningen, Thuringia (which was then residence town of Duchy Saxe-Meiningen). His early work shows the influence of Johann Philipp Bach who may also have taught him. However, by 1778 he had become a pupil of J.H.Tischbein in Kassel where he exhibited two works at "Junge Maler" in the Academy show in 1780: one pastel portrait, the other a Cleopatra after Titian (medium unspecified). He travelled to Hanover (ca. 1780-84), Brunswick (court artist 1785), Frankfurt, Mannheim, Dresden (1786), Kassel (1787, returning in 1804), Berlin (1789-1792 and 1793-1806). His first trip to Berlin was mentioned in a letter from January 1789 of Charlotte, Duchess of Brunswick-Wolfenbuettel to her sister-in-law, Elisabeth Christine, Queen of Prussia.
From 1792-1793 Schroeder was in London, following the marriage of the Prussian Princess Friederike with the Duke of York; there he portrayed the Royal Family and exhibited three portraits of unnamed sitters at the Royal Academy. Returning to Germany via The Netherlands, he made a portrait of Queen Luise of Prussia which was widely copied. He was in Brunswick in 1801 before settling in his home town Meiningen after 1806. There were further trips to Bad Pyrmont (1806) and Karlsruhe (1810-1811). He also executed a series of portraits of the Baden Royal Family in the 1800s.
He died in his native town Meiningen in 1812.


Condition: good; in original frame

Creation Year: 1811/12

Measurements: UNFRAMED:35,5x30,5cm/14,0x12,0in FRAMED: 45,2x40,0cm/17,8x15,7in

Object Type: Framed pastels

Style: Old Master drawings

Technique: each: pastel on vellum (painted by artist in oval and mounted onto stretcher)

Inscription: each: legend on verso

Creator: Johann Heinrich Schroeder
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!

Creator Dates: 1757 Meiningen-1812 Meiningen

Nationality: German

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