Tuesday, November 5, 2013

50. Musee Nissim de Camondo

Today I hunted down a sweet little museum – the Musee Nissim de Camondo - another almost deserted museum that gave me the freedom to wander around without tripping over other tourists..
 
street entrance ...
 
courtyard ..
 
This is a most sumptuous private Parisian home from the early twentieth century.
 
 
 
 
 

Moïse de Camondo, a reputed Parisian banker during the Belle Epoque ( the Beautiful Era - 1871 to 1914 ), was a passionate collector of French furniture and art objects from the eighteenth century, and he amassed a collection of unusual quality.

 
 
 
 
 
In 1911, he hired architect René Sergent to build a private mansion next to Parc Monceau that would be worthy of this collection and suitable for his family to live in. The design was modelled after that of the Petit Trianon in Versailles. The home, which is fully preserved in its original condition - including the bathroom - offers an opportunity to discover the taste of a great collector and to get a glimpse of the everyday life of an aristocratic home.
 
 
 
How privileged are we to be able to now wander through this grand private mansion ... 
 
 
 
 
 
 






 
The Museum however, does carry with it a tragic family history …
 
Comte Moïse de Camondo was born in Istanbul in 1860 into a Sepharadic Jewish  family that owned one of the largest banks in the Ottoman Empire, established in France since 1869. Moïse de camondo meant to give his mansion and collection to his son Nissim. But World War I broke out, and Nissim was killed in an air battle in 1917. After this tragic loss, he decided to bequeath his property to the “Arts Décoratifs”, in memory of his son. The museum opened the year after Moïse de Camondo died, in 1935. During World War II, his daughter, Béatrice, his son-of-law Léon Reinach and their children, Fanny and Bertrand, died in the Nazi camps. The Camondo family died out.

 
Sadly tomorrow I leave Paris bound for a brief stay down Bordeaux way then onto a new country and a new city and new home for four weeks - and a new language - just when I was starting to make myself understood in French  ...