Edouard André, the scion of a Protestant banking family, devoted his considerable fortune to buying works of art which he then exhibited in his new mansion, built on the new Boulevard Haussmann, in 1869 by the architect Henri Parent, and completed in 1875.
He married a well-known society painter, Nélie Jacquemart, who executed Edouard's portrait 10 years earlier. Every year, the couple would travel in Italy, amassing one of the finest collections of Italian art in France as they went. When Edouard André died, Nélie Jacquemart completed the decoration of the Italian Museum and travelled in the Orient to add more precious works to her collection. Faithful to the plan agreed with her husband, she bequeathed the mansion and its collections to the Institut de France as a museum, which opened to the public in 1913.
The State Apartments The State Rooms were designed by the André's for their most splendid receptions. They reflect their fascination for the French school of painting and 18th century decorative art.
The informal Apartments The André's would receive their business relations in a series of smaller, more informal salons. These were decorated in a refined style, testifying to their talents as collectors.
The winter garden The Winter Garden is remarkable on more than one count and testifies the artistic skill of the architect Henri Parent, who was seeking to surpass Charles Garnier, the builder of the then new Opéra Garnier.
The Italian museum The Sculpture Gallery houses collections of 15th and 16th century Italian sculpture, with masterpieces by Francesco Laurana, Donatello, Luca Della Robbia and others. The Florentine Gallery is both a place of worship, containing works on religious themes — choir stalls, reredos and funerary monuments — and a picture gallery focusing on the Florentine school, with works by Botticelli, Botticini and Perugino, and Ucello's celebrated St George and the Dragon. The Venetian Gallery attests to the André's love of 15th century Venetian artists. Dominated by a coffer ceiling attributed to Mocetto, paintings by Mantegna, Bellini or Carpaccio recreate the typical setting of a Venetian Palazzo.
The Private Apartments Occupying part of the mansion's ground floor, the André's private apartments give the museum the feel of a family home.