The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations

The Edmond de Rothschild Collection

When in 1934 the heirs of Edmond de Rothschild decided to honor their parents’ memory by donating his celebrated collection to the Louvre, it led to the creation of a specialized department. Today the Louvre’s Prints and Drawings Department is comprised of the collection of drawings, the Baron Edmond de Rothschild Collection and the collection of engraved plates.

The Edmond de Rothschild collection includes prints, drawings, manuscripts and rare books – over 60,000 works patiently gathered by the Baron from a very young age. Celebrated for its outstanding quality and universal appeal, the collection includes masterpieces by Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Durer and Raphael, exceptionally rare 15th century incunables and niello pieces (metal artworks created by Florentine goldsmiths) and works illustrating the astonishing and abundant richness of 18th century French prints.

This collection seemed naturally destined for the Louvre Museum, whose scientific excellence and educational outreach continue to highlight the prominence of the collection, in particular through the many exhibitions that are organized in France and internationally.

Selected highlights: prints and drawings from the 15th to 18th centuries

The exhibition “Masterpieces from the Edmond de Rothschild collection. Drawings and prints from the 15th to 18th centuries” was held at the Juan March Foundation in Madrid in 2004, and subsequently at the Louvre in 2005. Presenting 74 masterpieces from the Edmond de Rothschild collection, this exhibition marked the first presentation of the works outside the Louvre Museum. It illustrated the fundamentals of the history of prints and highlighted the ties between drawing and painting and the art of reproduction. The Juan March Foundation published the exhibition catalogue.

Prints of Ideal China

The Louvre Museum selected “Prints of Ideal China” as the 2009 theme for the annual exhibition of the Edmond de Rothschild collection. The exhibition presented an exceptional array of French engravings commissioned by Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century.

Masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance

The Casa Buonarroti in Florence presented “Drawings from the Louvre: The Italian Renaissance in the Rothschild Collection” from May to September 2009. The exhibition displayed a selection of some 100 drawings by the most revered masters of the Italian Renaissance. A number of the drawings have only recently been studied and were on public display for the first time at the Casa Buonarroti.

The Cressent Circle: renovation of 18th century decorative arts exhibition galleries

The Louvre Museum’s extraordinarily rich 18th century decorative arts collection is a magnificent testimony to French design and craftsmanship.

The permanent exhibition rooms for this collection were inaugurated in 1901 in the west wing of the Cour Carrée. The collection expanded considerably during the 20th century thanks to the generosity of art lovers. More recently, gifts and corporate philanthropy have contributed to completing the collection and making it more cohesive. The magnificent ensemble of Sevres porcelain enameled furniture, reunited in homage to Baron Edmond de Rothschild, was acquired through a gift in 1990.

To ensure an exhibition space befitting these invaluable works, the Louvre undertook the renovation of the18thcentury decorative arts exhibition galleries. This is one of the museum’s priority projects over the next five years. It includes elements of graphic design, architecture and ways to display 18th century decorative arts – one of the richest and most comprehensive collections ever presented to the public: royal furniture, decorative bronzes, rugs and tapestries, masterpieces of gold, silver and porcelain, as well as jewelry and scientific instruments.

The project reflects a desire to give life to a prestigious collection in the Grand Louvre’s continuing program of renovation.

The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations were eager to be a part of this major initiative. They joined the Cressent Circle, named after the great French cabinetmaker Charles Cressent, which brings together art enthusiasts and collectors of 18th century art as well as patrons who wish to ensure that the Louvre’s exceptional collections enjoy the stature they deserve.


In partnership with Editions Artulis and the Louvre Museum, the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations pay tribute to the renowned collection of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild.