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Reinach, Salomon

    Full Name: Reinach, Salomon

    Other Names:

    • Salomon Reinach

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 29 August 1858

    Date Died: 04 November 1932

    Place Born: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Île-de-France, France

    Place Died: Boulogne, Paris, France

    Home Country/ies: France

    Subject Area(s): archaeology and Classical


    Classical art historian and archaeologist; co-founder of the École du Louvre; author of a early survey of art history translated into English. Reinach was the middle son of Hermann Reinach and his wife, Julie Budding. The elder Reinach, an extremely wealthy Jewish banker from Frankfurt am Main, had immigrated to France in the 1840s. The Reinachs lived in a large villa in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Paris suburbs) where Salomon was privately tutored. He attended the École normale supérieure, graduating with first class distinctions, studying under Michel Béal, the eminent French semantics scholar. Reinach’s interest in languages resulted in a life-long devotion to archaeology. He entered the French school at Athens in 1879 and between 1880-82 participated in the archaeological digs with Edmond Pottier (1855-1934) and Alphonse Veyries (1858-1882) in Aeolia. In 1881 Reinach helped discover the Aeolian city state of Nimrud Kalassi. He joined the Musée des Antiquités nationales in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1886 as an assistant. Part of his experiences in archaeological field work were published in 1887 as La nécropole de Myrina. His pedagogic ideas of museology date from his experiences at Musée des Antiquités at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which he joined in 1887. In 1893 he became conservateur (curator, essentially vice-director) of the museum. During these same years he taught 1890-92 and 1895-1918 at the École du Louvre, which he helped found. Around 1900, he met the aspiring papyrologist, Seymour de Ricci, who’s career Reinach furthered, introducing him to the important world of French society scholarship. From 1894 onward he was a member of the French School in Athens (Ecole Francaise d’Athènes). In 1894, too, he met Bernard Berenson whose connoisseurship he so admired that he translated some of Berenson’s articles into French. Reinach led various projects to publish corpora of objects, the earliest being Greek and Roman statuary, Repertoire de la statuaire gécque et romaine (issued between 1897-1898). Another corpus, Répertoire des vases points grecs et etrusques, appeared in 1900. Reinach was named Professeur de numismatiqueam at the Collège de France and the Directeur propriétaire of the Gazette des Beaux-Arts. Among his popular courses at the École du Louvre were his “Antiquités Nationales,” which succeeded in getting him named to a full professorship in 1902. His inaugural lectures for the 1902-1903 focused on a broad history of art centered around the Greek tradition. Reinach was appointed director of Musée des Antiquités at Saint-Germain-en-Layethe same year (1902). He was appointed editor of the Revue archéologique in 1903, receiving the title officer of the Legion of Honor the same year. A third catalog of objects, Répertoire de peintures du moyen âge et de la Renaissance 1280-1580, began in 1905. In 1904, Reinach’s École du Louvre lectures were published as a survey of art history entitled, Apollo: histoire générale des arts. It appeared in English the same year as The Story of Art throughout the Ages. The textbook was one of the first heavily illustrated art surveys and went through numerous editions. Between 1905-10 he lectured in general art history at the École As an ancientist, he was a member of the Société des antiquaires de France. Reinach died in 1932 and is buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre, Paris. His younger brother, Théodore, (1860-1928), was also a classical scholar, authority on semitic coins and owner of the Gazette des beaux-arts, 1905-1928. His elder brother, Joseph (1856-1921), a political writer involved in the Dreyfus Affair. Reinach’s art history was deeply influenced by ethnology and the study of the sacred symbolic function of culture. As an art history survey, Apollo focused on what he called “Greek miracle,” tracing its antecedents and its influence through the Renaissance, and avoiding the medieval age. Berenson correctly observed that Reinach in fact had little real feeling for art (Samuels). Over his career, Reinach developed a specialty in gems and was ranked with Adolf Furtwängler in expertise on the subject. His leadership at the Musée des Antiquités nationales made it the principal museum for Celtic and Roman artifacts of France. A strong proponent of Jewish culture and rights, he was vice president of the Alliance Israelite Universelle, a cofounder of the organization helping to resettle Russian Jews, the Jewish Colonization Association, and an active member of the Societé des Études Juives, founded in 1880.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography:] Bibliographie de Salomon Reinach. Paris: Société d’édition Les Belles-lettres, 1936; Catalogue du Musée impérial d’antiquités. Constantinople: Le Musée, 1882; Traité d’épigraphie grecque. Paris: E. Leroux, 1885; épertoire de reliefs grecs et romains. 3 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1909-12; and Tolstoi, Ivan, and Kondakov, N. P. Antiquités de la Russie méridionale. Paris: E. Leroux, 1891; Manuel de philologie classique. 2 vols. Paris: Hachette, 1883-84; Cultes, mythes et religions. 3 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1905-08, English: Cults, Myths and Religions. London: D. Nutt, 1912; Apollo: histoire générale des arts plastiques professée à l’École du Louvre. Paris: Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1904, English: The Story of Art throughout the Ages, an Illustrated Record. Florence Simmonds, trans. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1904, [subsequent editions retained the first word “Apollo” in the title]; Amalthée; mélanges d’archéologie et d’histoire. 3 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1930-31; Catalogue sommaire du Musée des antiquités nationales au château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Paris: Librairies-imprimeries éunies, 1906; épertoire de la statuaire grecque et romaine. 4 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1897-1910; Recueil de têtes antiques idéales ou idéalisées. Paris: Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1903; épertoire de la statuarie grecque et romaine. 5 vols in 7. Paris: E. Leroux, 1897-1924; épertoire des vases peints grecs et étrusques. 2 vols. Paris: E. Leroux, 1899-1900; and Reinach, Adolphe. Recueil Milliet: textes grecs et latins relatifs á l’histoire de la peinture ancienne. Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1921; and Pottier, Eduard, and Veyries, Alphonse. La nécropole de Myrina: recherches archéologiques exécutées au nom et aux frais de l’École française d’Athènes. Paris: E. Thorin, 1887.


    Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, pp. 224-225, 473-474; Brinke, Margit. “Reinach, Salomon.” Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon 7 (1994): 1530-1532; Rodrigue, Aron. “Totems, Taboos, and Jews: Salomon Reinach and the Politics of Scholarship in Fin-de-Siècle France.”. Jewish Social Studies 10 (Winter 2004): 1-19; Duchêne, Hervè. “Preface.” Reinach, Salomon. Cultes, Mythes et Religions. Paris: R. Laffont, 1996, pp. v-lxxxi; Samuels, Ernest. Bernard Berenson: the Making of a Connoisseur. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1979, p. 207.

    Contributors: Lee Sorensen


    Lee Sorensen. "Reinach, Salomon." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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