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Cinnaminson, New Jersey
September 29, 2003
Through the open door of Cabinet de travail you can see the Boudoir with a fresco by Tiepolo "Justice and peace" on the ceiling and paintings by Vigee Lebrun, David, Prudhon on the walls.
Next room is the library that has paintings by Rembrandt with unmistakable dark backgrounds and amazing, well-lit face and eyes staring at you from the canvas. There's also an especially interesting Van Dyck’s "Portrait of magistrate". The story is that at one time the Louvre, one of the Amsterdam museums and André were bidding on this painting and it was not established who the author was. André offered the highest bid that could not be matched by the museums, and later it was determined to be a Van Dyck.
There is also Salon de Musique (Music room) which used to be another reception room with crimson walls and furniture typical of second empire times and ceiling by Paul Gallon, who was sought after at the time, which shows Chariots of Apollo. Then there is Jardin d’Hiver (Winter garden) which was a great novelty at the time and people would come to this house to see it.
The 2 floor vestibule and a gallery of antique busts and exotic plants end with a gorgeous staircase of fairy-tale construction made of iron with mirrors on each side to complete the illusion. When you walk up along this marvelous staircase there is yet another wonderful surprise – a large fresco by Tiepolo painted for villa Contarini in 1573 showing doge Contarini welcoming Henri III, king of Poland, to Venice.
The whole 2nd floor is full of Italian treasures. Galerie de Musiciens (Musical gallery) has paintings by Titian and busts by Bernini; Musee Italien (Italian museum) has sculptures by Donatello and Della Robbia. Then there is also Salle Florentine (Florentine hall) that has 5 amazing stalls from Florence with unbelievable inlays, and as the name suggests has paintings by Florentine masters. Boticelli’s "Virgin and child" is between 2 paintings of the same subject – on the left by Botticini and on the right by Perugini. Salle Venetiene (Venetian hall) is a collection of works by Mantegna, Bellini, Boticelli and Carpaccio. The ceiling of this room is made up of rectangular and circular shape frescoes brought from Venice and is really marvelous.
There is another staircase leading downstairs along which are 18th century French tapestries that illustrate the story of Achilles. And downstairs you find the apartments where the owners lived - only 3 rooms. When Edouard was close to death, he wanted to bequeath the collection to the public and since they didn’t have children in 1912 it became so after Nelie’s death.
From journal Paris in September - Part I
When you buy a ticket (ticket office and bookshop are all in one), you get a coupon (which is good for over 2 years) for free entry to one of the other museums owned by Institut de France and managed for it by Culture Espaces. These include Chateau de Valencay, Villa Ephrussi de Rotschilde, Villa Kerylos, Chateau de Baux, Theatre Antique d’Orange and Musee National de l’Automobile Collection Schlumpf Mulhouse.
"A glimpse into refinement and wealth," says the board on the outside wall of the museum. And it is most certainly true. This large collection of paintings, frescoes, statues and furniture was collected by Edouard André and Nelie Jacquemart. Part of the collection was put together by André before he married Nelie (who was an accomplished painter and you can see her works through the building). After they were married they spent lots of time in Italy collecting and then more time at home rebuilding the house to accommodate the collection. Here every room is a treasure.
From the outside through the ticket office and along the alley lined with blooming tall red cannas you walk into a large courtyard with 4 lion statues guarding the entrance to the museum, but they seem to be doing it quite lazily – one is sleeping, the other one is yawning.
Inside you start with the Salon des Peintures (Picture room) – here are paintings by Canaletto, de Witt, Boucher on the walls. In the middle is a beautiful marble statue of a girl with pigeons by Pampaloni.
From this room we enter the Grand Salon that was a reception room; the décor of it is a mixture of the 18th century and second empire styles.
Salon des tapisseries (Tapestry room) next door has 3 large tapestries from Manufacture Royal de Beauvais (they still make tapestries in Beauvais); these tapestries are part of the series "Russian games" with very fresh yellow, red, pink and blue colors. In this room you can also see two large Chinese vases and beautiful furniture with peacock patterns.
You continue to the Cabinet de travail (Working room) that has the most precious works in the building – French school paintings among which the most important are works by Fragonard and Greuze, the ceiling plafond is by Tiepolo. There is also a Louis XIV armoire with amazing inlays.
Continued in Part II
February 12, 2002
Part of your entrance fee includes a headphone tour and this helps to enhance your appreciation of the works and the setting.
The first parlor you enter was set up to impress guests and it still does. It includes 2 Viger Lebrun portraits, 2 Canalettos, 2 Nattiers and 2 Bouchers. The grand salon has 18th century tapestries and paneling. There are walls that go into the floor that allow 3 rooms to become one and accomadate 1000 people at a party.
The tapestry room was constructed to fit the tapestries. It has a beautiful panelled ceiling and lovely furniture in pastel colors. They bought not only art works but whole rooms, ceilings, walls, doors, panelling etc. What ever they found beautiful and could fit into one of their homes.
In 1872 Nelie Jacquemart painted Edouard portrait. They didn't marry until 1881 but one has to wonder if they fell in love during the painting of the portrait. It is on display in the house. Part of the attraction here is the very real story of these two extraordinary people. The other part of the attraction is of course the art.
There are Rembrandts, Van Dykes, Frans Hals, Tiepolo, David, Lawrence, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Bernini, Boticelli, Mantagna, Fragonard, Chardin, and more all set in the most lovely rooms of furniture and decorative arts. Its not too much, its just enough.
This is finast collection in France, second only to the Louvre and it belonged to one couple. Its amazing.
There is a really superior gift shop and a cafe which had a very long line. Most of the people here appear to be French, its about time they shared their secret.
From journal Paris- Beyond the Obvious
São Paulo, Brazil
July 15, 2002
The house is gorgeous and there is a nice restaurant where you can enjoy an afternoon tea.
From journal Wonderful Paris