Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris

Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris – © David H. Enzel, 2023

The Musée Nissim de Camondo is a historic house museum of French decorative arts located in the Hôtel Camondo at 63, rue de Monceau, on the edge of Parc Monceau, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.

The original owner of this elegant house was Ottoman-born Jewish banker and art collector Count Moïse de Camondo (1860-1935). He built the home in 1911 to accommodate his large collection of decorative art and furniture, inspired by the Petit Trianon of Versailles.

Following the death of his only son, Nissim (1892-1917), in World War I, the grieving Count withdrew from social life and devoted himself to his collection. When the Count died in 1935, he donated the house and all it contained to the Musée des arts décoratifs to be turned into a museum named after his beloved son. Sadly, his last remaining heir, his daughter Béatrice (1894–1944), was deported with her entire family to the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. The Camondo family was Jewish (Sepahrdic) and France’s German occupiers targeted Jews for deportation and extermination. The de Camondo family died out, leaving this house and its artistic legacy as a testament to the life of a passionate collector. The house opened as a museum in 1936.

Today, the house is maintained as if it were still a private home preserved in its original condition. Three floors are open to visitors: the lower ground floor (kitchens), upper ground floor (formal rooms), first floor (private apartments), and gardens.

The house’s furnishings include needlepoint chairs and work by artisans of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (Royal Furniture Repository) such as Jean-François Oeben, Jean Henri Riesener, and Georges Jacob. Floors are furnished with Savonnerie carpets woven in 1678 for the Grande Galerie in the Louvre.

The walls are accented with tapestries (many Beauvais or Aubusson) and paintings, including portraits by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, landscapes by Guardi and Hubert Robert, and hunting scenes by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. Table settings are of particular interest, especially the Orloff silver dinner service commissioned by Catherine II of Russia from silversmith Jacques-Nicolas Roettiers in 1770, and the Buffon porcelain services made at Sèvres in the 1780s with a bird theme. Other notable objects include a bust by Jean-Antoine Houdon, bas-reliefs, Chinese vases, and crystal chandeliers.

You can see more photos of the museum on my photography site.


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