Théophile Bader

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Théophile Bader
Born24 April 1864
Died16 March 1942(1942-03-16) (aged 77)
OccupationBusinessman
Parent(s)Cerf Bader
Adèle Hirstel
Relatives Ginette Moulin (granddaughter)
Léone-Noëlle Meyer (granddaughter)

Théophile Bader (24 April 1864 – 16 March 1942), co-founder of Galeries Lafayette, was a French businessman and art collector whose family was persecuted during the Nazi occupation of France because of their Jewish heritage.

Contents

Early life

Théophile Bader was born to Jewish merchants Cerf Bader and Adèle Hirstel. [1] His family were vineyard owners and sold livestock. The family name, "Bader", resulted from 1808 Napoleonic decree from which required Jews to choose a fixed surname for themselves and their children. One of his ancestors, Jacques Lévy, chose Bader. It is possible that he borrowed the name from a non-Jewish friend. After the 1870 defeat and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine to Prussia, the Baders, very attached to France, moved to Belfort where Théophile continued his studies. At the age of 14 years his parents sent him to Paris to work in clothing manufacturing.

Career

In 1893, Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn opened a 70 square meter haberdashery called Les Galeries. [1] On December 21, 1895, they acquired an entire building at 1 Rue La Fayette. They incorporated the Galeries Lafayette on September 1, 1899. During this period, the Galeries had their own studios where they manufactured clothing. [2] These studios remained open until Ready-to-wear fashion entered the market in the 1960s.

In 1909, Ernest Werheimer and Émile Orosdi, future Chanel No. 5 partners, granted a loan of 800,000 francs to Galeries Lafayette to buy a neighbouring building. [3] Bader was the one who introduced Weheimer to Coco Chanel and in 1924 he brokered the deal that lead to Chanel selling Parfums Chanel to the Werheimer brothers, receiving 20% of the enterprise in return. [4] [5]

In 1912, Alphonse Kahn retired from managing operations but continued to share the role of Chairman of the Board with his cousin. Bader put in place a relief fund, a nursery, and a pension fund before the imposition of statutory funds.

From 1916 to 1926, the Galeries Lafayette expanded to locations including Nice, Lyon, Nantes, and Montpellier. During the 1920s, Théophile Bader attempted to expand into other countries but with limited success. He invested personally in multiple businesses, notably D'Orsay (in 1916) and Vionnet. [6] He became one of the firsts to sell ready-to-wear fashions in his large store, copying the haute couture models. [7]

Family

Théophile Bader had two daughters, Yvonne, who married Raoul Meyer, and Paulette, who married Max Heilbronn.

Persecution of the Bader family during the Nazi occupation of France

During Nazi occupation of France in 1940, Les Galeries Lafayette underwent a process of "Aryanization", that is the removal of Jewish owners and their replacement by non-Jewish owners. [8] Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store's administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The property of Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families was taken. [9] [10] [11]

The Galeries Lafayette group was transferred to non-Jewish owners: the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol. Bader's sons-in laws Max Heilbronn and Raoul Meyer joined the anti-Nazi resistance. [12]

Death and legacy

Bader died on 16 March 1942. [1]

After the victory over Nazi Germany, Bader's son in law, Max Heilbronn, founder of Monoprix, was released from Buchenwald where he had been interned. [10] His other son-in-law, Raoul Meyer, filed a claim against the art dealer Christoph Bernoulli demanding the restitution of one of the artworks seized during the Nazi occupation of France, "Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep", by Camille Pissarro; however, the claim was unsuccessful [13]

In 2012, Bader's granddaughter, Ginette Heilbronn Moulin, filed a criminal complaint against the Wildenstein art dealing family concerning a Monet that had been looted under the Nazis along with nine other paintings that had belonged to her father Max Heilbronn. [14] [15] [16]

In 2014, another of Bader's granddaughters, Léone Meyer, filed a lawsuit against the Fred Jones Jr. Museum in Oklahoma demanding the restitution Shepherdess Bringing in Sheep which Bernoulli which had passed through several art dealers to end up in the USA after Bernoulli had sold it. [17] The case has been dragging through courts in the USA and France. [18] [19]

See also

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References

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  2. Derdak, Thomas; Grant, Tina (1998). International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 23. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press. p. 220. ISBN   978-1-55862-364-4.
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  4. Garelick, Rhonda K. (2014). Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History. New York: Random House Publishing Group. ISBN   978-0-679-60426-6.
  5. Honig, Michelle (22 February 2019). "How Karl Lagerfeld cleansed Chanel of its antisemitic and Nazi past". Jewish News . Retrieved 6 April 2020.
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  7. Goude, Jean-Paul (2009). The Goude Touch: A Ten Year Campaign for Galeries Lafayette. London and New York: Thames & Hudson. p. 9. ISBN   9780500514863.
  8. "82 Famous Jewish Concerns Get 'temporary Managers' in Occupied France". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 1941-02-24. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
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  10. 1 2 "Galeries Lafayette, Buchenwald, Galeries Lafayette-- / Max Heilbronn avec Jacques Varin | Max Heilbronn 1902- (Varin, Jacques ) | The National Library of Israel". www.nli.org.il. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  11. "Cultural Plunder by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg: Database of Art Objects at the Jeu de Paume".
  12. "Raoul-Meyer". www.ajpn.org. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  13. Kutner, Max (2016-10-04). "How a painting stolen by the Nazis ended up at the University of Oklahoma". Newsweek. Retrieved 2021-11-06. By 1952, the Meyers had chased down Shepherdess—it was in Switzerland. They sued its owner, but the court ruled against them because they couldn't prove he had known the work was stolen when he acquired it. The dealer, who had a reputation for handling stolen art, offered to sell it to the Meyers, but they refused to buy something they already owned.
  14. Carvajal, Doreen (2012-03-19). "Prominent French Families Battle Over a Missing Monet". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  15. "Une toile de Monet est l'objet d'un litige entre les familles Heilbronn (Galeries Lafayette) et Wildenstein". Le Journal Des Arts (in French). Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  16. "Search for Missing Monet Leads to Wildensteins and the Met". Observer. 2012-03-19. Archived from the original on 2021-11-06. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  17. "Elle veut récupérer le Pissarro de son père, volé par les nazis". Europe 1 (in French). Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  18. JEAN-ROBERT, Alain. "French Holocaust survivor ratchets up battle with US over Nazi-looted painting". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  19. Carvajal, Doreen (2020-12-17). "Will a Looted Pissarro End Up in Oklahoma, or France?". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-11-06.