Discover the lavish lifestyles of Paris’s elite in the 19th century. It is well worth your time and money to visit Musée Jacquemart-Andre, located in a magnificent Belle Epoque palace. Plus, there’s the museum’s art collection, thanks to the hard work of ambitious art lovers Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart.
The Institut de France owns Musée Jacquemart-André. It is located in a beautiful Second Empire estate. This museum displays art treasures befitting the world’s finest museums. People often compare this Parisian museum to the Frick Collection in New York, but it has kept its palatial feel.
Guests can look around several rooms from the 1800s. They can see private apartments, a grand staircase, and a winter garden.
Table of Contents
- History of Jacquemart-André Museum
- Edouard André, a sole heir
- Jacquemart-Andre beginnings: A love story
- Death of Andre and the widowhood of Jacquemart
- The passing of Jacquemart
- Divisions of the Jacquemart-André museum
- The Italian Museum
- The Winter Garden
- The Private Apartments
- The State Apartments
- The Informal Apartments
- Getting there
- Visit Musée Jacquemart-André!
History of Jacquemart-André Museum
This private mansion was built at the end of the 19th century. Under Haussmann’s New Paris, Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, made their residence a museum. Visitors can see authentic rooms from the 19th century and international exhibitions that change often.
Edouard André, a sole heir
On December 13, 1833, young Edouard André entered the world. He was a member of a thriving family of prosperous Protestant bankers from the South-East of France. The Andrés made their fortunes during the Second Empire.
Edouard’s grandfather established the André Banque with the help of François Cottier. They agreed that it would benefit their children, Ernest André and Louise Mathilde Cottier, to marry each other and bring their families together. The couple had only one kid, a boy named Edouard.
Edouard began collecting art about the time he turned 30. His early acquisitions included pieces by Delacroix and other Barbizon School artists. By 1860, Napoléon III had Prefect Baron Haussmann carry out a massive urban planning initiative that would forever alter the look of Paris. Entire neighborhoods were demolished, and rectilinear axes were drawn from the city’s outskirts towards its historic core. Napoleon III asked Edouard directly to manage the Exposition Universelle’s fine arts section in 1867.
In 1869, Edouard commissioned architect Henri Parent to work on a massive project: his own house. The mansion on the newly-constructed Boulevard Haussmann would cause a sensation. It took seven years to finish the building, which Edouard moved into in 1875.
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Jacquemart-Andre beginnings: A love story
To have a likeness painted of him, he commissioned Nélie Jacquemart in 1872. They met, fell in love, and got married. Nélie and Edouard did not have children and they decided to pursue their passion in the arts. The couple embarked on a global journey during which they amassed one of the world’s finest private art collections. The couple visited Italy often, eventually acquiring one of France’s best collections of Italian art.
When Edouard André died, Nélie Jacquemart finished decorating the Italian Museum. She then went to the Orient to find more valuable pieces to add to the collection. In keeping with what she and her husband had planned, she left the mansion and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum, which opened to the public in 1913.
Death of Andre and the widowhood of Jacquemart
Edouard André died when he was sixty years old, which left his wife extremely sad. The pain of her loss was made worse by something she hadn’t expected: her husband’s family filed a lawsuit to get his money back.
Nélie kept adding to the collections all by herself. She started traveling around the world in 1902. At the time of the marriage, Edouard’s cousins ensured that the family fortune could be reclaimed. But just before he died, Edouard wrote a will that gave his wife everything he owned. So, Nelie won the case!
The passing of Jacquemart
Nélie died May 15, 1912. The owner left the mansion to the Institut de France in a will made a few months earlier. In her will, she said that she wanted the collections to be shown to as many people as possible and made available to as many people as possible.
Nélie Jacquemart was a very practical person who had thought of everything. She even put in her will how the Museum should open and where each piece should be. She asked the Institut de France, the recipient of her will, to follow these rules to the letter.
Raymond Poincare, the President of the Republic at the time, opened the Musée Jacquemart-André on December 8, 1913, with a lot of pomp and ceremony. It was a huge hit immediately, making people think of the Andrés. The next day, 800 people went to the Museum; the next Sunday, 1,700 people went.
Divisions of the Jacquemart-André museum
The Italian Museum
The Sculpture Gallery has collections of Italian sculptures from the 15th and 16th centuries. There are works by artists such as Francesco Laurana, Donatello, and Luca Della Robbia.
The Florentine Gallery is both a place of worship and a museum of art from the Florentine school. It has works by Botticelli, Francesco Botticini, Perugino, and Ucello’s St. George and the Dragon, considered one of the best paintings ever made.
In the Venetian gallery, you can see how much Andrés loves Venetian painters from the 1500s. Paintings perfectly capture the grand atmosphere of a Venetian palazzo by Mantegna, Bellini, and Carpaccio, as well as a coffered ceiling that is thought to have been made by Mocetto.
The Winter Garden
In an effort to outdo Charles Garnier, who had just finished construction on the brand new Opéra Garnier, Henri Parent designed the Winter Garden. This was the most eye-catching space at the mansion’s initial unveiling. There is no denying that the winter garden in this mansion is its crowning glory.
The exotic plant collection of the Winter Garden was imported from Great Britain and skillfully placed in a glass atrium. Guests might relax in the tranquil setting amid the lush vegetation throughout the lengthy parties. The impressive double helix staircase may be found just inside the marble foyer.
The Private Apartments
Part of the mansion’s bottom level is dedicated to the Andréses’ private apartments.
Both his bedroom and the bathroom next to it were redone after he died. They now have more of a feminine touch. Carpeaux gives a plaster bust of B.V.R.B. along with a chest of drawers from the Transition period. Even though it looks like the emperor, it is actually Edouard André. It is the best way for Nélie to show how much she loves and respects her husband.
The couple liked to meet in the antechamber, which was between their two bedrooms. They ate breakfast here every morning, surrounded by pictures of their families. The portrait of Edouard that Nélie painted in 1872 is one of the most important of these. Edouard André’s memory is always here. Things like his father’s wallet and a list of “who’s who” from his time as a member of the National Assembly remind us of his presence.
The private apartments in the residence are made up of three rooms that are set apart from the reception rooms on the ground floor. Nélie Jacquemart sought to relive the ambiance of Louis XV’s reign in her bedroom. She put old wood paneling around a large daybed and put several of her most lovely pieces of furniture and a lot of the small tables she liked to surround herself with. On the walls are silks from Lyon and two pastel paintings. She built a small sitting room with a conservatory on the terrace, which she turned into her office.
The State Apartments
To host their most dignified guests, the Andres fashioned the State Rooms. Their admiration for the French Impressionists and 18th-century ornamental arts is shown in these works.
The Grand Salon
Edouard André hosted his visitors there. To accommodate huge parties, he would have the walls between the Picture Gallery, the Grand Salon, and the neighboring Music Room slid aside using hydraulic cylinders. In this mansion, Edouard André and Nélie Jacquemart entertained the one thousand Paris elite members at their lavish parties.
The semi-circular shape of the Salon sets it apart from the other rooms. It recalls the 18th-century preference for curves over straight lines in interior design. Furniture, antique artifacts, and style replicas coexist in one harmonious ensemble, characteristic of the decorative art of the time, which we now call eclecticism.
There are no paintings since the room is not conducive to them. However, there is a lovely gallery of sculptures made up of marble busts from the 18th century.
The Picture Gallery
The Picture Gallery serves as an antechamber to the Grand Salon. Three large windows on the outside provide ambient lighting as guests make their way inside the State Apartments. Visitors may follow the presentation, which shifts from ornamental pieces to overdoors to mythical compositions to still lifes to landscapes to portraits, as Edouard André and his wife planned.
The Music Room
The Music Room is the second spacious greeting area. This chamber is characteristic of the Second Empire, with its crimson walls and dark wood furnishings. As the collection increased, the paintings that adorned the area were frequently replaced. It transports us back to 18th-century France.
The Dining Room
This room’s size and decor quality attest to its significance in the routine running of the estate. The room’s sideboards are a collection of Louis XV console tables in gold and carved wood, and the mantel features a bust of Mrs. André. A group of five tapestries depicting Achilles’ exploits in the Trojan War were created in Brussels in the 18th century and adorn the wall above the bust. The colors are very vibrant and new looking.
The Informal Apartments
The Andrés would meet with their business contacts in a series of smaller, less formal salons. These salons were spruced up in a classy way.
The Tapestry and Study Rooms
A series of private apartments, including the Tapestry Room, were set aside by Edouard André and his wife for their personal and professional lives. They also have a study that Edouard André and later Nélie Jacquemart used to conduct daily operations and business meetings.
Nélie Jacquemart’s boudoir and the adjoining room were both originally designed to serve as parts of her private residences, with the latter serving as her bathtub and the former as her bedroom. However, Nélie changed her mind a few years later and had a new room built just next to her husband’s. It was at this moment that this space became a boudoir.
The most private space in the house, the library was once Nélie Jacquemart’s bedroom. The couple came here to look over catalogs and make some decisions about future purchases.
The Smoking Room
Finally, the Smoking Room. Men can gather around the fireplace here for after-dinner discussions. While Nélie retreated to a cozy sitting room to regale her friends with tales of her adventures in Italy, Edouard ushered the men here for a cigarette and a discussion of business or travels.
See Related: Historical Landmarks in Paris
The history of Musée Jacquemart-André is beautiful, and I know it piqued your interest. From a mansion filled with love to a museum made with love, Musée Jacquemart-André perfectly represents romantic Paris. If you want to visit this stunning place, here’s what you need to know.
The address of Musée Jacquemart-André is 158 Boulevard Haussmann 75008 Paris. There are several well-known attractions within walking distance, including the Armagnac Castarède, Librairie Auguste Blaizot, and Musee Nissim de Camondo.
You can take the Metro Lines 9 and 13, Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil, or Saint-Philippe du Roule stations. If you prefer to take the bus, take bus lines 22, 43, 52, 54, 28, 80, 83, 84, or 93.
If you want to brink your own vehicle, you need not worry because there is parking available in Parking Haussmann-Berri. It is located just outside the museum and is open 24 hours a day.
Visit Musée Jacquemart-André!
In review, Musée Jacquemart-André is a world apart from most museums. It is an authentic estate, built in the nineteenth century by a couple that spent their life together there, and it is filled with incredible artworks and collectibles that were hand-picked by the same couple. Remember to look up! The stunning frescoes adorning most of the ceiling are a sight to behold.