Abraham-Behor de Camondo (1829-1889)

Abraham-Behor was born in Constantinople in 1829. In 1847, he married Régina Baruch (1833-1905), with whom he had two children: Clarisse and Isaac.

Dynamic, entrepreneurial and hardworking, he was inseparable from his brother Nissim, with whom he continued the philanthropic and financial activities initiated by their grandfather. In 1864, he became President of the central committee of the Universal Israelite Alliance in Istanbul, whose chief aim was to improve the moral and material conditions of Jews, particularly through the founding and running of schools. Despite moving to France towards the end of the Second Empire, Abraham-Behor pursued these educational responsibilities until his death.

In 1869, he and his brother settled in Paris, where their families joined them in adjacent mansions bordering the Parc Monceau. Abraham-Behor’s house at 61, rue de Monceau was built in 1874 by the architect Denis Louis Destors; it became known for its lavish hospitality and its collections of ancient and modern paintings, furniture and Oriental art objects reflecting the owner’s taste for “Japonisme”.

On his initiative, the I. Camondo & Cie bank was involved in many projects in France and worldwide, particularly in collaboration with the Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas, of which he was an administrator.

Although they maintained close ties with Turkey, the brothers were very keen to be part of Parisian high society – an ambition that was fully gratified when they were decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1882; on this occasion, Abraham-Behor had his official portrait painted by Léon Bonnat.

He died in 1889, a few months after his brother.

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