The Jacquemart André Museum is located in Boulevard Haussmann, in a building of great elegance, in the private residence of Edouard André and his wife: it contains the works of art that the couple collected during their lifetime.
Indeed, Edouard André, a 19th century collector, and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, a renowned portrait painter, travelled through Europe and the Orient to acquire the rarest works of art and furniture. The collections are among the most remarkable in France: works of the Flemish and German schools, detached frescoes, fine furniture and tapestries thus find their place on the ground floor of the house. But it is above all to the Renaissance, Florentine and Venetian, that Nélie Jacquemart devotes her attention: the first floor of the building is, in fact, reserved for Italian art of this period with works by Canaletto, Mantegna, Tiepolo and Botticelli.
But the museum is only part of the visit: the building is a magnificent hôtel particulier in the heart of Haussmann’s Paris. You can admire its fabulous interiors, its luxurious rooms furnished according to the taste of the time, still with all the original furnishings. Often compared to the Frick Collection in New York, the building has retained all the atmosphere of a grand residence, making it a unique place in Paris.
Built at the end of the 19th century, in the new Paris of Haussmann, at the behest of Edouard André and his wife Nélie Jacquemart, a couple of great collectors, this private residence offers the discovery of spaces inhabited in the 19th century.
In fact, the great works that the couple collected throughout their lives are exhibited within the living spaces. Strolling through their home, you will admire 17th century French works, works of 17th century Flemish painting and an incredible collection of Italian Renaissance masterpieces, with paintings by Botticelli, Mantegna, Donatello, Carlo Crivelli and Paolo Uccello.
Not forgetting the marvellous fresco by Tiepolo near the stairs inside the house, which was brought from Villa Contarini in the province of Venice.
The room of paintings is an antechamber, which precedes the large living room. Illuminated from the outside by three bay windows, it gradually introduces the visitor to the interior of the large flats. Boucher, Chardin, Canaletto, Nattier are the prestigious artists who have been brought together in this room and who welcome the visitor, as they used to welcome the guests of Mr and Mrs André.
The visit continues in the large living room, the reception room par excellence. This is where Édouard André used to welcome his guests. On the occasion of very important receptions, he managed to make the side partitions disappear by means of hydraulic cylinders, in order to combine the painting room, the great hall and the adjacent music room into a single space. Édouard André and Nélie Jacquemart were able to welcome a thousand guests there during the sumptuous parties attended by all of Paris at the time.
The music room is the other large reception room. This living room is typical of the Second Empire with its red-tiled walls and dark wood furniture. The paintings that adorn the room have changed often, depending on the growth of the collection. They take us back to 18th century France with works by Hubert Robert, Fragonard and portraits by Perronneau.
Finally, the dining room, a fundamental place in the daily life of the private palace, whose importance can be measured by its size and the quality of its furnishings. The most striking element is the fresco installed on the ceiling: the work by Giambattista Tiepolo comes, like the one on the staircase, from the Villa Contarini di Mira.
The tapestry room introduces a series of more intimate rooms that Edouard André and his wife devoted to their private life and business.
The office was the room where Edouard André and later Nélie Jacquemart organised their daily life and received their business reports. On the wall a series of paintings by the great French masters of the 18th century: Fragonard, Lagrénée, Coypel, Pater, Greuze. A fresco by Tiepolo from a Venetian palace decorates the ceiling.
The boudoir was originally intended for Nélie Jacquemart’s private flat: Tiepolo‘s ceiling depicts Allegories of Justice and Peace.
The library is the hotel’s most remote room. The couple used to meet there to consult sales catalogues and decide on future purchases. On the walls you will discover a series of Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 17th century: Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Philippe de Champaigne, Ruysdaël.
The smoking room is a room designed for after-dinner conversations between men in front of the fireplace. While Nélie would take refuge in a small living room to tell her friends about her latest discoveries in Italy, Edouard would bring men here to talk business or travel and to smoke in front of a fine fire burning in the fireplace.
The winter garden is characteristic of the art of hospitality that developed during the reign of Napoleon III. It consisted of arranging potted plants, most often exotic, under a glass roof. This green space allowed guests to come and relax in a more refreshing environment than the stuffy halls nearby.
This marble-floored vestibule, with mirrored walls, gives access to the astonishing double spiral staircase: a true architectural feat, it was designed by Henri Parent. It is a magical construction, surprisingly light despite the density of its materials: marble, stone, iron, bronze. It stands on a rounded frame that extends its curves. The play of mirrors reflects it on all the walls and takes the illusion to its apex.
To complete the decoration of this main staircase, the Jacquemart-André couple placed a very large fresco painted by Giambattista Tiepolo for Villa Contarini in Veneto, where they discovered it and bought it in 1893.
The private flats consist of three rooms on the ground floor. In her bedroom, Nélie Jacquemart has chosen to return to the atmosphere of Louis XV’s reign.
Located between the two bedrooms, the antechamber was the couple’s favourite intimate meeting place. Every morning they would have breakfast, surrounded by family portraits.
Edouard André ‘s bedroom and adjoining bathroom, redone after his death, suggest the influences of the female aesthetic.
The part of the building that housed the Italian Museum was originally empty. Over the years, Nélie and Edouard André had the idea of setting up their collections there. It was their secret garden. While on the reception floor all their guests could admire the collections, visits to the Italian museum were limited to a few friends or amateurs who requested them.
The sculpture room celebrates her husband’s many trips to Italy and their shared passion for Italian Renaissance art: for years the couple amassed treasures.
Nélie, who was in love with Florence, had a mausoleum made in the form of a private chapel, which would collect what was most precious to her. The Florentine room holds a gallery of exceptional paintings: a series of Madonnas with Child from the Florentine workshop, paintings by Sandro Botticelli and Perugino. These panels alone would be enough to make this room one of the most valuable in the museum. It also contains another great work: St George killing the dragon by Paolo Uccello.
The Venetian room reflects Edouard André’s personal taste. Organised during his lifetime, it brings together works from Venice and the schools of northern Italy. There are works by Bellini, Mantegna, Crivelli, Schiavone and Vittore Carpaccio. The paintings on the coffered ceiling are grisaille paintings and mix religious and secular subjects.
The Jacquemart-André Museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm. During exhibition periods, it is open at night on Mondays until 8.30 p.m.
The Museum is located a short walk from the Champs-Élysées and the department stores. It can be easily reached using the metro, lines 9 and 13, station Saint-Augustin, Miromesnil or Saint-Philippe du Roule.
Alternatively, you can use the RER, line A, station Charles de Gaulle-Étoile or buses, lines 22, 43, 52, 54, 28, 80, 83, 84, 93.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.