Count Moïse de Camondo, whose family owned the largest bank in the Ottoman Empire, moved to Paris when the bank expanded to France.
He was a sportsman–he owned one of the first automobiles in the country, and took part in the 1901 Paris to Berlin race–and a cultivated collector of 18th Century furniture and decorative art.
He rebuilt the family’s mansion to hold his collection, which he meant to pass on to his son, Nissim.
In 1917, Lieutenant Nissim de Camondo’s plane was shot down over France.
After the war, Count de Camondo bequeathed the house to the “Arts Décoratifs”, in memory of his son, with the provisions that it be called Musée Nissim de Camondo, and that it remain as it was during his lifetime.
The museum opened in 1936, the year after Moïse de Camondo died.
His daughter, Béatrice, supervised the execution of his will.
In 1942, during the Occupation, Béatrice, her husband Léon Reinach, and their children, Fanny and Bertrand were arrested and eventually sent to Nazi concentration camps.
None of them survived.