Thursday, August 25, 2011


NAPOLEON ENTERING NEW YORK, A New Exhibition by Chaim Koppelman

At the Museo Napoleonico in Rome in October of this year, an historic exhibition will open showing the prints, pastels, paintings and drawings which Chaim Koppelman did over six decades on the meaning of Napoleon to him. In the 1950s, as part of his study of Aesthetic Realism, Chaim attended a lecture by Eli Siegel on the character of Napoleon. Referring to a work by Eli Faure, Mr. Siegel explained something never seen before: "Napoleon," he said, "felt the injustices of the past should be changed." Yes, "he had a tremendous desire for power, but also, he wanted to be welcomed by the masses." Chaim Koppelman was so deeply affected by this idea that he put Napoleon into the 20th century, a man of opposites, in New York, in Coney Island, cavorting on the beach. With his fertile imagination, Chaim did work which showed Napoleon in an entirely new way, in entirely new circumstances--a figure with an ego, in his familiar hat, and also a man of the people. Napoleon retreated from Moscow as Meissonier showed, but he then went to Brooklyn, Chaim Koppelman's hometown.


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