Musée Jacquemart-André

Musée
Jacquemart-André

A place of history

Built at the end of the nineteenth century in Haussmann’s new Paris by Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, a couple of major collectors, this private mansion (hôtel particulier) enables visitors to discover genuine nineteenth-century rooms and temporary exhibitions that are international in scope. 

1833 Edouard André

1833

Edouard André

Edouard André was born on 13 December 1833 into a family of wealthy Protestant bankers from South-East France that flourished during the Second Empire.

1833 Edouard André

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Dominique André, Edouard’s grandfather, moved to Paris and collaborated with François Cottier, who assisted him with the business of the Banque André. Both men decided that it would be a good idea to unite their families through the marriage of their children: Ernest André and Louise Mathilde Cottier. Edouard was the couple’s only child.

At the age of eighteen, he was admitted to Saint-Cyr, from which he graduated as an officer in one of the elite corps responsible for Napoleon III’s protection. But, with his preference for the splendour of the Cour des Tuileries, he decided to leave his post. In 1864, he took up his father’s seat as a member of the National Assembly and lead a very Parisian life. 

Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Portrait of Edouard André in the Uniform of the Guides of the Imperial Guard, 1857, oil on canvas, Jacquemart-André Museum, Paris - © Institut de France / C. Recoura

1869 The construction of the private mansion

1869

The construction of the private mansion

In 1860, Napoléon III entrusted the Prefect, Haussmann, with the implementation of a vast urban planning programme that fundamentally altered the physiognomy of Paris: entire districts were razed to the ground and rectilinear axes were traced out from the periphery to the centre

1869 The construction of the private mansion

In 1860, Napoléon III entrusted the Prefect, Haussmann, with the implementation of a vast urban planning programme that fundamentally altered the physiognomy of Paris: entire districts were razed to the ground and rectilinear axes were traced out from the periphery to the centre

Between 1869 and 1876, Henri Parent created a vast and beautiful building that was greatly inspired by classical models, with its perfectly symmetrical layout and the decorative elements on its facades. The building is set back from the Boulevard Haussmann, creating a break in the alignment that draws the eye.

In 1876, the inauguration of the mansion was a major event: the invitees discovered the double spiral staircase, with its improbable equilibrium, and the sumptuousness of the materials. They praised this monumental building just as they had the foyer of the Opera House that Charles Garnier had just completed.

1869 The construction of the private mansion

‘It is impossible to find a more admirable venue. Every fashionable and elegant celebrity was present (...) They all sparkled without exception. (...) In fact, everything was there to turn M. André’s ball into a sensational party, whose magnificence marked its era. The walls of the two entrance rooms, the cloakroom, and the hall were covered with a fragrant screen of violets and camellias. The gold decorations in the double ballroom glittered and sparkled in the light of a thousand candles.’

Extract from an article in L’illustration published to mark the mansion’s inauguration in 1876.

1872 Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart

1872

Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart

Édouard André decided to have his portrait painted and commissioned a young artist who had already established a reputation as a successful portraitist: Nélie Jacquemart.

1872 Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart

In 1881, Edouard and Nélie got married, a marriage of convenience between two very different persons, as he was a Protestant Bonapartist, and she a Catholic living in a royalist milieu. Their union turned out to be a great success. They never had any children and devoted themselves entirely to their shared passion: their collection of works of art.

In 1881, Edouard and Nélie got married, a marriage of convenience between two very different persons, as he was a Protestant Bonapartist, and she a Catholic living in a royalist milieu. Their union turned out to be a great success. They never had any children and devoted themselves entirely to their shared passion: their collection of works of art.

One year after their marriage, Nélie decided to have her husband accompany her on a  series of trips around Italy, which gave them a chance to visit auction houses and antique dealers.  They also went on several trips to the Near East. During this time, they had furnishing and decorative work done on their mansion, in preparation for the installation of the works they bought.

1894 The last trips made by Nélie as a widow

1894

The last trips made by Nélie as a widow

Edouard André passed away at the age of sixty, leaving his wife distraught. The pain of her loss was exacerbated by an entirely unexpected situation: a lawsuit filed by her husband’s family to recuperate his fortune.

1894 The last trips made by Nélie as a widow

Edouard’s cousins had been careful, at the time of the marriage, to prepare a ‘separation of marital property’ contract, which would ensure that the family fortune could be recuperated. But, shortly before his death, Edouard drew up a will that bequeathed all of his property to his wife. Accused of misappropriating the heritage, she won the case.  

Nélie continued to add to the collections on her own. In 1902, she embarked on a trip around the world. She even travelled to the Indies. She was about to go to China and Japan, but when she learned that the royal Abbey of Chaalis was up for sale, she interrupted her travels and her dearest wish came true when she acquired the property. 

1913 The birth of the Musée Jacquemart-André

1913

The birth of the Musée Jacquemart-André

Nélie passed away on 15 May 1912. The mansion became the property of the Institut de France, through a legacy made by the owner several months earlier. In her will, she stated her wish that the collections be made available to the broadest possible public and exhibited to the crowds of visitors.

1913 The birth of the Musée Jacquemart-André

A highly practical woman, Nélie Jacquemart had thought of every detail, going so far as to stipulate in her will the conditions of the Museum’s inauguration and the exact locations of each work. She asked the Institut de France, as her legatee, to respect these arrangements to the letter.

On 8 December 1913, the Museum was inaugurated with great pomp and ceremony by the President of the Republic in person, Raymond Poincare. It was an immediate success, which echoed the fame of the Andrés. Eight hundred visitors attended the Museum the next day, and 1,700 the following Sunday.

1996 Culturespaces the delegated management of the Museum

1996

Culturespaces: the delegated management of the Museum

The Institut de France entrusted Culturespaces with promoting and running the heritage of the Museum, which reopened the same year. The company holds two major temporary exhibitions each year.

1996 Culturespaces the delegated management of the Museum