Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme

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The statue of Captain Dreyfus in the courtyard of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan

The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme (French; "Museum of Jewish Art and History") is a French museum of Jewish art and history located in the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan at 71 rue du Temple in the Marais district in Paris. The museum is open daily except Saturday (Shabbat). An admission fee is charged. The nearest métro station is Rambuteau.

The museum traces the evolution of the Jewish world via its artistic and cultural heritage, focussing on the history of the Jews in France since the Middle Ages and evoking the communities of Europe and North Africa. Its collection, one of the finest in the world, comprises religious objects, manuscripts, textiles and unique archive documents concerning the Dreyfus Affair. Special importance is given to the Jewish presence in the arts, featuring the painters of the School of Paris (Chagall, Kikoïne, Soutine…) and contemporary artists such as Christian Boltanski and Sophie Calle.

Le Musée d'art et d'histoire du Judaïsme (MAHJ) est un musée situé dans l'hôtel de Saint-Aignan dans le quartier historique du Marais. Ses collections retracent l’évolution des communautés juives à travers leurs patrimoines culturels et leurs traditions. Il accorde une place privilégiée à l’histoire des juifs en France, tout en évoquant les communautés d’Europe et d’Afrique du Nord, qui ont contribué à former la physionomie du judaïsme français. Outre une collection d’objets de culte parmi les plus importantes au monde, le MAHJ présente de riches fonds ethnographiques et historiques. Il conserve ainsi 2 700 documents sur l’Affaire Dreyfus, donnés par la famille du capitaine Dreyfus.

Des œuvres de Chagall, Modigliani, Soutine, Pascin, parmi d’autres, illustrent la présence juive dans l’art du XXe siècle. Le MAHJ recèle également une collection d’œuvres contemporaines de Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Gérard Garouste ou Moshe Ninio.

History and collection[edit]

Jewish Cemetery, Samuel Hirszenberg (1892)

The museum dates from 1986 when the then-Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, made the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan available for a museum of Jewish civilization. The building was originally constructed as a hôtel particulier for Claude de Mesmes, Comte d'Avaux in 1644–1650 to the designs of the French architect Pierre Le Muet, and was known as the Hôtel d'Avaux. It became known by its present name after it was acquired by Paul de Beauvilliers, Duc de Saint-Aignan, in 1688. Acquired by the City of Paris council in the 1960s, the exterior was slowly restored nearer to its original design, most significantly by the removal of additional storeys that had been added in the 19th century. A second restoration was carried out after 1986 by Bernard Fonquernie, Architecte en Chef des Monuments Historiques. The museum's mise-en-scène was designed by Catherine Bizouard and François Pin.[1]

The museum opened in 1998, and the initial collection was formed by combining the Strauss-Rothschild gift built up by Isaac Strauss and given by Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild in 1890 to the Musée de Cluny, with the holdings assembled since 1948 by the Musée d'Art Juif. This collection has been enhanced by acquisitions and donations of art, and historical and ethnological objects.

The museum reflects the history of Jewish communities in France, Europe, and North Africa, from the Middle Ages to the present. It contains archives of the Dreyfus affair, 20th-century art (Chagall, Modigliani, Soutine, Michel Kikoine), as well as objets d'art, textiles and manuscripts, and a 182-seat auditorium. The Carnavalet Museum has added to its collection of medieval tombstones.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Ayers 2006, pp. 71–72.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°51′40″N 2°21′19″E / 48.86111°N 2.35528°E / 48.86111; 2.35528