The SHP and the Museum of Philhellenism both pay tribute to the great French Philhellene Juliette Récamier.
French-born Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélade Récamier (1777-1849) hosted one of Paris’s most influential philosophical salons, attracting politicians, intellectuals, writers, and artists. She was the wife of banker Jack Récamier and a graduate of a Lyon convent school.
At 19, Récamier had already established an extensive social network among the elite of Paris, and her charm and unique personality helped to spark a revolution in early 19th-century fashion. It was one of the earliest to adopt the “Greek style,” which took inspiration from classical antiquity and mirrored the imperial style popular during the First Empire.
In 1819, he was associated with the French writer, politician, and great Philhellenic Chateaubriand. Récamier was a prominent member of the Paris Philhellenic Committee and one of the most influential women in French Philhellenism. Madame Recamier corresponded with the Philhellene French soldier Olivier Voutier (1796-1877) while he was in Greece. She later published Voutier’s lengthy letters, titled “Letters on Greece,”in which he describes Greek culture, landmarks, and battles. The Philhellenic Committee benefited from the sales of the book that swayed the French to support the Greek Revolution.
Récamier was a key figure in the philhellenic movement. Her relationship with the romantic writer, politician, and Philhellene François-René de Chateaubriand (1768-1848) sparked and sustained a lifelong affection for Greece and the Greek people that lasted through the Greek War for Independence. Recamier donated substantial amounts of money to the Greek Revolution out of her own coffers and through fund-raising efforts.
At the age of 72, on May 11, 1849, in Paris, Juliette Récamier succumbed to the cholera epidemic. Her life was full of intensity; she inspired the passions and cultivated friendships with many notable figures of the time, including Victor Cousin, Lamartine, Balzac, François Gérard, Canova, and many others.