Adèle Hannah Charlotte von Rothschild (1843-1922)
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. In France she was also known by the 'de Rothschild' surname.
Following her husband's sudden death, Adèle largely withdrew from the world, cloistering herself and her daughter in the mansion (the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild) she built at 11 rue Berryer in Paris and confining her limited social contacts to her sisters Laura Thérèse de Rothschild, the Duchess of Gramont (1847-1931) and Bertha Clara, Princesse de Wagram (1836-1911). Having expressed clear disapproval of the marriages of the two latter 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.
Adèle as a collector and aesthete
Adèle's devotion to her faith was reflected in her choice of collection - Jewish art. Much of her collection, and the collections she inherited from her father and 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. The building was heavily influenced by the decor of the Château de Ferrières.
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. The building and its collections are today managed by the Salomon de Rothschild Foundation.