The love-child of a couple of passionate art collectors, this terrific museum takes the form of a 19th-century mansion filled with fine art and decorative objects. Not only is the collection superb, but it is also of a blissfully reasonable size—you can see a wide range of beautiful things here without wearing yourself to a frazzle.
Nélie Jacquemart and Edouard André devoted their lives to filling this splendid dwelling with primarily 18th-century French art and furniture. The paintings of Fragonard, Boucher, and Chardin are in evidence, as is an impressive assortment of Louis XV– and Louis XVI–era decorative objects. There are many superb portraits, including “Comte Français de Nantes” by David. The couple also amassed a number of 17th-century Dutch paintings, including a jaunty “Portrait of a Man” by Frans Hals, and Rembrandt’s evocative “Pilgrims at Emmaus.”
The peripatetic couple, who traveled frequently in search of new items for their collection, also took an interest in Renaissance Italian art; though at the time considered “primitive” by most art fans, that didn’t stop them from snapping up Quattrocento masterpieces like Botticelli’s “Virgin and Child.” The Italian collection (on the second floor) is the most awe-inspiring part of the museum; not only are there works by masters like Bellini, Uccello, and Mantegna, they are presented in an intimate space with excellent lighting. You feel like you are walking into a jewel box. Enjoy a light lunch or tea in the lovely dining room.
- Margie Rynn