Professor at the Sorbonne, specialist in the history of aristocratic elites, author of numerous essays, including a biography of Boni de Castellane, Éric Mension-Rigau will tell the story of this most unusual and intriging character, an embelmatic figure of the Belle Époque. Belonging to one of the oldest families in France, great-grandson of the Maréchal de Castellane and the Duchess de Dino, great-grand nephew of Talleyrand, Boni de Castellane was a renowned dandy and, at the same time, an active deputy, especially in the field of foreign policy. He was a member the House of Deputies from 1898 to 1910. His marriage in 1895 to the wealthy American Anna Gould, daughter of the “King of American Railways”, made him a symbol: France gave him its coat of arms and America its fortune. The gold of the New World allows him to realize his dreams and to dazzle France. He amasses a fabulous collection of objets d’art, buys the Château du Marais and the Château de Grignan, asks the architect Sanson to build the famous Palais Rose, avenue du Bois (now avenue Foch), modeled after the Grand Trianon, with a staircase inspired by that of the Ambassadors at Versailles. He gives exceptional festivities that bring together artists, politicians and the European elite. His divorce in 1906, just as shattering in the press as was his marriage in real life, leaves him penniless. Assailed by the creditors, he becomes a journalist, then an antique dealer, adapting to this new life with his legendary elegance. An astonishing media phenomenon, he has fascinated his contemporaries as much by his propensity for spending and his aesthetic sense as by his detachment when hardship comes.
The name and address of our hostess will be communicated to enrolled members a few days before the lecture.
Cost : 50€
To enroll, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org