Cultural events

The Rothschilds in France in the 19th century


  • James de Rothschild - Painting by Paul Flandrin in the manner of Hippolyte Flandrin, 1864 © Private collection

    James de Rothschild - Painting by Paul Flandrin in the manner of Hippolyte Flandrin, 1864

  • Practical information

  • Richelieu

    Tuesday – Saturday
    10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    Sunday: closed (Vigipirate)
    Closed Mondays and public holidays

    Full price: 9 €
    Reduced price: 7 €

    2 exhibitions
    Full price: 14 €
    Reduced price: 9 €

    FNAC Reservation: 0892 684 694 (0,34 €/mn all taxes included) and at

from November 20, 2012 to February 10, 2013 Richelieu / Mansart gallery

In 1812, James de Rothschild is twenty when he arrives in Paris. He rapidly becomes one the protagonists in the world of the high finance made up of famous families of bankers. They come from all parts of Europe and are going to play a major part in the Industrial Revolution. Discovering the destiny of the Rothschild family is an opportunity to observe the first part of the 19th century, its history from the First Empire to the beginning of the Republic… Who are these businessmen who get involved in industry, raw materials, transport? Who are these aesthetes who encourage the development of a rich artistic life? Who are these ‘philanthropists’ who support medical research or promote a vision of town planning based on  hygiene theories?

The destiny of James de Rothschild and his brothers allows visitors to discover the world of the enlightened high finance…

James has been put at the center of the display. As a counterpoint, two other families are presented, the Pereire brothers’ family and the Camondo brothers’. They were rivals of the Rothschild family involved in banking and industrial activities - railway network [Chemins de Fer du Nord company in Boulogne-sur-mer, development of the line Paris-Orléans, Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM)], exploitation of minerals and metals, urbanization of Paris, philanthropic activities (Rothschild hospital), development of the tourist industry (creation of the city of Arcachon), investment in famous vineyards (Château Lafite, Château Palmer). But these rivals were alike in their society ‘habitus’ and way of life: private mansions and castles, collections of works of art, activities as patrons in French institutions (musée du Louvre, Bibliothèque nationale de France, musée national de la Renaissance, Arts décoratifs, musée Nissim de Camondo…). These great bankers marked their time but were also sources of inspiration for masters of literature such as Stendhal, Balzac or Zola.

Presented in the outstanding Mansart gallery of the Richelieu library, the exhibition proposes to discover a wide variety of paintings, objets d’art, books, illustrations, photographs, documents from archives and collections of the Rothschild family, from the BnF and from several French institutions.

With the support of

Logo d'Edmond de Rotschild Logo de Rotschild Banque

Tuesday, November 6, 2012