Letters to Camondo
A tragic family history told in a collection of imaginary letters to a famed collector, MoÃ¯se de Camondo.
63 rue de Monceau, Paris
As you may have guessed by now, I am not in your house by accident. I know your street rather well.
Count MoÃ¯se de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal’s forebears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle epoque high society. They were also targets of antisemitism.
Camondo created a spectacular house and filled it with the greatest private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son, Nissim, to inherit. But when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and, upon the Count’s death, was bequeathed to France.
The MusÃ©e Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. De Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. In a series of haunting letters addressed to the Count, he tells us what happened next.