Before the Second World War, several prominent French Jewish families built vast collections of art and treasures which sought to venerate beauty at a time of increasing hostility. But their collections – and their rarefied worlds, now vanished – also reveal the tragedy of their troubled lives and identities as they found themselves caught between emancipation, assimilation and antisemitism.
Drawing on connections made in the writing of his Costa and Ondaatje Prize-winning memoir The Hare With Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal turns his attention to the family behind the greatest private collection of French 18th century art in Letters to Camondo. Washington Post Paris correspondent James McAuley has won acclaim for The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France, an evocative account of the period from 1870 to the end of the war. In this special Jewish Quarterly conversation presented by Jewish Book Week they join biographer and author of Les Parisiennes Anne Sebba to discuss these extraordinary stories of art and life.
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