Seminar Collection

Edmond Foulc, Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart: 19th century collectors

Tuesday, 10 November, 2020 at 06.30-8.00pm (Paris Time)
Online (in French)

Speakers : Giancarla Cilmi (EPHE) and Alexandra Gauthier (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

For this session of the seminar we will have two speakers who will talk to us about both Edmond Foulc and Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart.

The scholarly challenges of collecting by Edmond Foulc, bibliophile and enlightened 19th century collector

Edmond Foulc (1828-1916) is a recognised member of the Cenacle of French collectors and bibliophiles of the late 19th century. This great patron of the textile and dyeing industry, who came from Nîmes’ Protestant high society, promoted the recognition of the decorative and architectural arts of the European Renaissance by building up a collection of decorative arts objects and a library of rare books. For nearly fifty years, it collected, selected and built up a collection of Renaissance artworks by nearly two hundred and fifty objects from France, Italy and Germany (14th – 17th century) as well as a library of nearly seven hundred references including books on architecture, collections of ornaments, illustrated books, prints and drawings from the 15th to the 18th century. The singular character of his collection, consisting mainly of furniture and decorative arts objects, is that it includes a remarkable collection of monumental ornamental sculptures for which Foulc has a particular taste. Installed with the library in his private mansion on the outskirts of the Trocadero gardens in Paris, the collection and library are accessible by invitation to students, craftsmen and ornamental artists as well as to the circle of European and North American collectors and bibliophiles. Nothing remains of the mansion. The collection and the library have been dispersed between the Phildalephia museum of Art and the Nîmes Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the library of the National Institute of Art History, heir to the Jacques Doucet collection, for the most remarkable part of its books. Their reconstitution allows us to reveal and apprehend the erudition of this rich bibliophile collector who was asked to sit on the Historical Monuments Commission and to understand through such a meeting the history of decorative and architectural art over three hundred years.

Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart: two collectors of late 19th century Italian art 

Édouard André (1833-1894) and Nélie Jacquemart (1841-1912), are part of this practice of collectionism which was the prerogative of the great western bourgeoisie at the end of the 19th century. He belongs to a large French Protestant family of bankers, she is a Catholic painter of modest origins. There is therefore nothing to suggest that they married in 1881. One wonders what could have united two such different people. It is most probably their common passion for art. Contrary to most collectors of their time, from the very beginning of their union, the André couple proved their originality by buying their works, not at public auctions, but directly from antique dealers. As Nélie Jacquemart’s passion for Italian Renaissance art quickly overtook her husband’s taste for French productions of the 18th and 19th centuries, they gave their purchasing policy a precise orientation. Over the years, they have built up a unique private “Italian museum”, bringing together paintings, sculptures and objets d’art, while at the same time trying to recreate the atmosphere of a Florentine palace in their Parisian mansion. For almost thirty years, they maintained close relations with the best Italian antique dealers and with the greatest art experts of the time, thus constituting an exceptional ensemble, still intact today. Through the analysis of their modus operandi and the study of the functioning of the Italian art market, we can better understand their taste and show the importance of this unique ensemble in the eclectic panorama of late 19th century collecting.

Alexandra Gauthier (Durieu) is a doctoral student in art history, specialising in the history and politics of heritage and museums at the University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne. Her university research, under the direction of Dominique Poulot, is on Foulc : de la collection et de la bibliothèque au patrimoine (XIXe – XXe siècle). For a recognition of the decorative arts in France, Switzerland and the United States. A lecturer at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, she is currently writing her thesis.

Giancarla Cilmi holds a doctorate in art history from the École Pratique des Hautes Études in co-supervision with the École du Louvre. In 2019, under the supervision of Michel Hochmann and Gennaro Toscano, she defended her thesis on the constitution of the Italian collection of the Jacquemart-André Museum and on trade between France and Italy at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Temporary teaching assistant at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, she is currently completing the publication of the first catalogue of the Jacquemart-André Museum’s Italian paintings.

Please note this conference is free of charge and will be in French online.

Please make sure you register in advance, in order to receive the necessary information, at this address:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *