The musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme (mahJ) has just celebrated its twentieth anniversary. When it opened in 1998 in the prestigious Hôtel de Saint-Aignan (see photo below) in Le Marais, it gave France a museum tracing the history of the Jewish communities in France, Europe, and the Mediterranean through diverse forms of artistic expression, cultural heritage, and traditions.
From March 20 to August 25, 2019, the mahJ will be honoring the life and career of one of the first and most successful female entrepreneurs of the XXth century with an exhibition entitled “Helena Rubinstein – The Adventure of Beauty.”
Her biography is impressive. Born in 1872 in a modest family in Poland, she first moved to Vienna, then to Australia where she started her cosmetics business. She moved on to London, Paris – her favorite city – and New York to become one of the richest women in the world.
Rubinstein owned several properties in the city of lights, which I look forward to seeing during the walking tour organized by the mahJ in May, July, and August.
The “empress of beauty” – as Jean Cocteau dubbed her – was an avid collector of couturiers’ pieces, jewelry, African sculptures, and paintings. She commissioned or purchased works from Dali, Picasso, Warhol, Braque, Chagall, Modigliani, and many more of the sort. The Paris museum of Jewish art & history will display 300 exhibits from her incredible collection of photos, garments, books, art pieces, and other objects.
Coincidentally, a biopic entitled Helena and produced by French-based StudioCanal is currently in the works… (Can’t wait to see this movie!)
Without a doubt, 2019 is Rubinstein’s year.