Edouard Andre was a scion of a fabulously wealthy Protestant banking family. A measure of the family’s wealth and prestige is that he had his portrait painted by Franz Zavier Winterhalter, who routinely painted royal and imperial subjects all over Europe.
For some reason, Edouard also chose to have his portrait painted by an up-and-coming society painter, the young Nelie Jacquemart.
The resulting portrait was nondescript. It hangs in their Belle Epoque mansion, now the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, but relegated to the back of a room display. Andre was one of the most eligible bachelors in Europe at the time. What went on between Nelie and Andre? Nothing seemed to happen other than the production of an OK portrait, but ten years later they were married. She was 40; he was 48. They shared a passion for collecting art, and they had so much money to spend on art that they decided to work cooperatively with the Louvre so as not to outbid the great museum during sales and auctions.
Nelie gave up her career as a painter and concentrated on taking care of Andre–and spending his money. He designed a beautiful studio for her in their Paris mansion, but it became a gallery for art instead. She left her brushes and tubes of paint behind as soon as she was married.
Their marriage seems to have been very happy. They hosted glittering society parties in their fabulous mansion of Boulevard Haussman. They traveled at least yearly to Italy to add to their collections. They lived in luxurious rooms replete with satins, marble, and fine woods.
What was not to like? I could get used to life in a Belle Epoque mansion!