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11, rue Berryer (Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild), Paris, France

Adèle Hannah Charlotte von Rothschild was the eldest of seven daughters of Mayer Carl von Rothschild (1820-1886) and was born in Frankfurt on 11 January 1843. By the age of 21, she had married her French cousin, Salomon James (1835-1864), settled in Paris, given birth to her only child, Hélène (1863-1947), and had been widowed. Having expressed clear disapproval of the marriages of two of her sisters outside the Jewish faith, Adèle was shattered to discover that her daughter Hélène had made the same choice, marrying Baron Etienne van Zuylen de Nyvelt.

Following her husband's sudden death, Adèle largely withdrew from the world, cloistering herself and her daughter in the hôtel particulier (the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild) she built at 11 rue Berryer in the heart of Paris, near the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré between 1872 and 1878, on the site of the remains of Balzac’s residence, the folie Beaujon, Adèle extended the garden with the purchase of 20 rue de Balzac in 1882. The architects were Léon Ohnet and Justin Ponsard. The building was heavily influenced by the decor of the Château de Ferrières, the core of the house being a vast hall surrounded by an upper gallery, and featuring an enormous mantle-piece. The interior decoration was consigned to a painter, Léopold Moulignon, who took his inspiration from Baroque and bucolic styles.

Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild

Adèle's devotion to her faith was reflected in her choice of collection - Jewish art. Much of her collection, the magnificent collection of silver collections she inherited from her father Mayer Carl (1820-1886) and the collections inherited from her father-in-law were displayed at 11, rue Berryer; the Smoking Room served as a cabinet of curiosities, paying tribute to her late husband, Salomon James.

Adèle died in Paris on 11 March 1922. The rift between Adèle and her daughter was never healed and much of her collection of Jewish art was bequeathed to the Musée de Cluny; other collections were bequeathed to the Louvre Museum, the Museum of Decorative Art in Paris and the National Library of France. The mansion at 11 rue Berryer was bequeathed to the French state, with the stipulation that it be turned into museum for the arts, and used for artists and academics under the name ‘Fondation Salomon de Rothschild’. 11 rue Berryer was later the scene of a presidential assassination on 6 May 1932. French President Paul Doumer was at a book fair in the hotel when a mentally unstable Russian émigré, Paul Gorguloff, opened fire at him. Doumer died the following morning.

The building and its collections are today managed by the Salomon de Rothschild Foundation, and it is home to the Centre national de la photographie and its renowned garden is open to the public. As of 2022, the following cultural and socio-educational organisations are housed in the building: A.D.A.G.P (Ste des Auteurs Arts Graphiques et Plastiques), Foundation Albert Gleizes, Foundation Nationale des Arts Graphiques Plastiques (F.N.A.G.P.), Les Amis de Nogent, Maison des Artistes, Société Nationale des Beaux Arts and the Syndicat National des Sculpteurs.

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