As an institution of the French Republic, with a rich artistic heritage, the Banque de France focuses a large part of its cultural sponsorship on maintaining its history and buildings. The Bank’s initiatives are guided by two main principles: preserving its heritage and bringing it to life.
The Banque de France has assisted various public bodies in acquiring items classed as national treasures or works of national historical interest. Where possible, it purchases artworks or objects related to its history and activities.
The Banque de France has its own extensive coin collection, and made a substantial donation towards the acquisition of this array of 1,107 silver coins, dating back to the late 10th and early 11th centuries. The collection was classed as being of national historical interest in 2015.
The magnificent Breteuil Table, also known as the Table of Teschen, was presented to the diplomat Louis Charles Auguste Le Tonnelier, Baron de Breteuil, in 1780 by the Elector of Saxony. Crafted by Johann Christian Neuber, it holds an important place in European history: it was made to mark the Treaty of Teschen, considered by many historians to be the first modern treaty, under which two nations, France and Russia, agreed to guarantee peace between Austria and Prussia, and more broadly to safeguard the security of Europe.
At the request of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Banque de France helped finance France’s participation in the acquisition of the Rembrandt portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit. The purchase was part of a joint operation on behalf of the Louvre and Rijksmuseum, agreed in July 2015 by the French and Dutch culture ministries.
The Turgot Archives are an exceptional collection of more than 14,000 manuscripts handed down through the Turgot family for over two hundred years. Acquired on behalf of the French state, the texts offer a remarkable insight into the political and economic history of the end of the Ancien Régime. The acquisition fits firmly with the Bank’s sponsorship policy, which aims to promote the nation’s cultural heritage and improve economic literacy.
The Banque de France owns an extensive collection of historical artefacts and artworks. It takes great care to maintain and restore them so they can be enjoyed by a wider audience.
The Golden Gallery had not undergone any major restoration work since the 19th century. The wood panelling and paintings were therefore in urgent need of repair, particularly as some sections of panelling had started to crack due to structural damage. The restoration project lasted for 18 months and was supervised by Bâtiments de France and Monuments Historiques, the agencies in charge of protecting France’s architectural and cultural heritage. The aim was threefold: to restore the wood panels, improve the lighting and insulation using the latest technology (LEDs, arrangements of glass), and clean and protect the 19th century paintings. The Golden Gallery reopened in 2015 for the European Heritage Days, attracting some 14,000 visitors.
The Banque de France acquired the Chancellerie under an agreement with the city of Paris and dismantled the interior décor, designed by the architect Alphonse Defrasse, under the supervision of Monuments Historiques. In 2010, it signed an agreement with the World Monument Fund and French Ministry of Culture to finance the restoration and reassembly of the décor. The finished works will be put on display at the National Archives in the Hôtel de Rohan-Strasbourg in Paris.
The Banque de France owns some remarkable buildings, furniture and other objects of historical note. It makes every effort to bring them to life and share them with the general public, notably through the European Heritage Days
The Banque de France has participated in the Heritage Days programme since it was created in 1984. For a long time, visitors were only allowed access to the Golden Gallery. However, since 2009, in response to public demand, the Banque de France has gradually opened up other sections of its premises, notably the state rooms, internal courtyards, and other areas that give visitors an idea of the Bank’s activities. The underground vault, where France’s gold reserves are stored, is permanently closed to the public. But for those curious to know what it looks like, the Bank organises a temporary exhibition on the vault, including a genuine gold ingot.
In homage to the composer François Couperin, who was music teacher to the Count of Toulouse and died in an apartment owned by the Bank on rue Radziwill, the Banque de France has a policy of encouraging musical activities on its premises. It regularly invites new musical formations and young musicians to perform in the Golden Gallery, taking advantage of the location’s exceptional acoustics and sumptuous decor.
Examples of music sponsorship:
The Bank has supported the Concert de la Loge since it was founded by the violinist Julien Chauvin. The orchestra draws its heritage from the Concert de la Loge Olympique, formed in 1783, which counted the Princesse de Lamballe, a resident of the Hôtel de Toulouse, among its patrons.
The Banque de France also supports the Quatuor Cambini, another of Julien Chauvin’s formations. The orchestra has already recorded two albums in the Golden Gallery.
Since 2000, the Banque de France has allowed members of the Alumni Association of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse to perform concerts in its Golden Gallery. The Bank became an official sponsor of the association in 2015.
The Banque de France loans items from its artistic and historical heritage to exhibitions or museums.
Examples of loaned works:
“Gardens” exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, from 13 March to 24 July 2017 (under preparation)
Exhibition entitled “From Watteau to Fragonard, les fêtes galantes” at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris, from 14 March to 21 July 2014
Displayed in the gallery of 17th and 18th century objects at the Louvre Museum, Paris, from March to June 2015 Exhibition entitled “18th century, birth of design, furniture masterpieces 1650-1789” at the Château de Versailles, from 28 October 2014 to 22 February 2015
Exhibition entitled “Tapestry in the baroque: threads of splendour” at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, United States, from October 2007 to January 2008
Updated on: 06/07/2018 15:03