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The Legion d'Honneur 

The Legion d'Honneur is France's highest decoration. It was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802 and first bestowed on July 15, 1804. It is awarded for gallantry in military action or twenty years distinguished service in military or civilian life for work that enhances the reputation of France through scholarship, arts, sciences, politics, etc. 

The head of Napoleon is on the front. The back is inscribed with the motto  HONNEUR. ET. PATRIE (Honor and Fatherland) AUSPICE. NEAPOLEONE. GALLIA. RENOVATA. 

The award consists of five classes. In descending order of distinction, they are:

1. Grand Cross;
2. Grand Officer;
3. Commander;
4. Officer;
5. Chevalier (Knight)

John Singer Sargent was awarded the medal after winning the the grand prix of the Paris  Exposition Universal of 1889 and then in 1897 was made an officer. From this position he was empowered to make nominations. 

In 1904 the award was given to his teacher Carolus-Duran along with his friend Paul César Helleu. 


  • See the year in review 1889

Photo of the Legion d'Honneur

Sampling of relavent artists as I come across them
John Singer Sargent made Chevalier
Antonio de la Gandara  made Chevalier
Albert Bierstadt - made Chevalier for his painting of Lander's Peak
John Singer Sargent made Officer
Paul César Helleu
Sarah Bernhardt made Chevalier


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved
Created 3/12/2001


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