Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
(800) 937-3880

Lot #8130
Franz Liszt

The virtuoso's praise of Napoleon III—"The fact is that no one in the world admires him more deeply"

This lot has closed

Estimate: $1500+
Sell a Similar Item?


The virtuoso's praise of Napoleon III—"The fact is that no one in the world admires him more deeply"

ALS in French, signed “F. L.,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 7.5, April 26, [1866]. Letter to an unnamed recipient expressing his admiration for the emperor, Napoleon III, in full (translated): "What a swarm of enchanting things. Gimpel is suffocating from it and sings your praises. It is all very well for him to say it’s impossible, he’ll believe it all the more. Only if one doesn’t ‘turn the page’ for any other reason than to oppose ‘the little composer.’ At every line, at every word of the marvelous writing one would like to stop, so much does this overabundance of grace captivate the soul and the attention! That you speak well of the Emperor, and how can I thank you for what you said to him about me! The fact is that no one in the world admires him more deeply—as a whole and in detail, in his deeds and words—than your very humble servant. It has already been about fifteen years that this has been going on, and I am quite resolved to continue without interruption. Bülow and his wife (and a third person whom I shall not name), who know by heart what I keep in mine, share my sentiments for the Emperor, and if chance had had it that it was otherwise, our intimacy would have suffered from it. Has Sax begun the bust? It seems to me that Phidias himself wouldn’t have done it.—Like Schwanthaler, they said in Amsterdam ‘that laurel suits me better,’ and yesterday, after the performance of Psalm XIII, a magnificent crown of laurel was given me (in silver, in beautiful workmanship). Tomorrow (Friday), the Preludes are going to be performed and on Sunday (at the Church of Moses and Aaron) the Mass of Gran. On when you will give him the pleasure of visiting him." After signing, Liszt adds a lengthy postscript: "The Léonards came here with Mme St. to hear yesterday’s concert. At their departure this morning I promised to dine with them in Brussels on Monday, where I will arrive toward 6 in the evening. If you have any commission to give me for Brus., just command—until Tuesday noon Hotel Bellevue." In fine condition.

Liszt’s admiration for the French emperor, Napoleon III, was well documented. On May 22, 1861, during a particularly memorable dinner encounter at the Tuileries, Napoleon expressed his thanks to Liszt for the goodwill he always bore France. The emperor, as he spoke, took on air of melancholy as he explained to Liszt the heavy burdens of his office, affirming to him that ‘there are days when I feel as if I had lived for a hundred years.’ Liszt’s response, ‘Sire, you are the century,’ made a visible impression on the emperor, and his subsequent playing of Chopin’s Funeral March brought Eugénie de Montijo to tears. A week later, Napoleon III made Liszt a Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Letter Collection
  • Dates: #553 - Ended June 28, 2018

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
Buy a third-party letter of authenticity for $300.00

*This item has been pre-certified by a trusted third-party authentication service, and by placing a bid on this item, you agree to accept the opinion of this authentication service. If you wish to have an opinion rendered by a different authenticator of your choosing, you must do so prior to your placing of any bid. RR Auction is not responsible for differing opinions submitted 30 days after the date of the sale.