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Museum Reopens in Paris

May 12, 1996

The Jacquemart-Andre Museum, which contains one of France's finest private collections of Italian Renaissance painting outside the Louvre, has reopened after a four-year restoration project.

The museum is housed in a mansion on the Boulevard Haussmann just south of the Parc Monceau and was designed by Henri Parent, one of the finalists in the competition to build the Paris Opera. The home has often been compared to that which contains the Frick Collection in New York.

With its impressive facade, graceful rotunda, cathedral ceilings, gilded moldings and wainscoting, the edifice recalls the comfort and luxury of an 18th century royal chateau.

Besides Jacquemart-Andre's 5,000 paintings, sculpture, tapestries, period furniture and art objects, the museum gives visitors a peek into the private chambers of Nelie Jacquemart and Edouard Andre, the couple who designed it with discriminating taste and unlimited funds.

Heir to a banking fortune and one of the city's most eligible bachelors, Andre built the mansion in 1875 to house his collection of art and antiques. But it wasn't until the fall of the Second Empire, which dashed his military and political ambitions, that he turned his attention full time to the arts.

In 1872, he posed for Jacquemart, one of the most gifted portraitists of the day. They fell in love, married and spent most of their time traveling throughout Europe buying precious artwork.

The collection includes Paolo Uccello's "Saint Georges Slaying the Dragon," Sandro Botticelli's "Virgin With Child," and Titian's "Portrait of Frederic II Gonzague."

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