Fanny von Arnstein

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Fanny von Arnstein, Lithograph by Louis Pereira, 1819

Baroness Franziska "Fanny" von Arnstein, born Vögele Itzig (September 29, 1758, Berlin – June 8, 1818, near Vienna) was a leader of society in Vienna.

Fanny Arnstein was born the daughter of Daniel Itzig, and was a member of the extensive and influential Jewish Itzig family.

She married the banker Nathan Adam von Arnstein, a partner in the firm of Arnstein and Eskeles; her sister Caecilie (Zipperche) was married to the other partner, Bernhard von Eskeles. They brought the social influences of Berlin to Vienna, notably the concept of the intellectual salon, to the Vienna of Joseph II. The Arnstein mansion at Vienna and her villas at Schönbrunn and Baden bei Wien were regularly used for hospitality. She was also involved in charitable works.

During the Vienna Congress the Arnstein salon was frequented by celebrities including Wellington, Talleyrand, Hardenberg, Rahel Varnhagen and her husband, the Schlegels, Justinus Kerner, Karoline Pichler, and Zacharias Werner. She was one of the founders of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and was herself a skilled musician.

In 1814, Fanny von Arnstein introduced a new custom from Berlin, hitherto unknown in Vienna: the Christmas tree.

Her only daughter, Henrietta, Baroness Pereira-Arnstein, was also a skilled musician and a regular correspondent of her cousin, Lea Salomon, wife of Abraham Mendelssohn and mother of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn (who was named after Fanny Arnstein).

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