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The Cultural Services and the Consulate in Open House New York 2017

October 10, 2017, New York—On Saturday, October 14, 2017, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the Consulate General of France in New York will join 240 sites across the five boroughsthat are opening their doors during Open House New York (OHNY). The Cultural Services and the Consulate, both housed in historic Fifth Avenue mansions on Museum Mile, will offer guided tours on Saturday with Francis Dubois, President of the Comité français du souvenir de Lafayette. These tours will give visitors a rare opportunity to see hidden corners of the buildings that are not generally open to the public, while learning about the rich architectural history of the two sites. 

At the Cultural Services of the French Embassy (located at 972, Fifth Avenue), 30 minute tours will take place hourly, from 10am to 1pm (10 –10:30am; 11 – 11:30am; 12 – 12:30pm; 1 – 1:30pm) . Advanced reservations are required for this guided tour and OHNY charges a $5 registration fee. The tours will take visitors through the first three floors of the French Embassy's Payne Whitney Mansion, a rare example of Gilded Age architecture in New York. Highlights include a replica of the Young Archer, attributed to Michelangelo in 1997; the Venetian Room, which features an exquisite handcrafted porcelain flowers and European antique furniture; Albertine Books, the French bookstore located within the Cultural Services,with interiors conceived by acclaimed French designer Jacques Garciathat includes a hand-painted mural on its second floor; the gilded, mirrored doors of the Marble Reception Room and adjacent Ballroom; Autumn (1902), an original stained glass window by John La Farge, American painter, muralist, and stained glass window-maker; and Artists’ Time, a selection of worksby France-based artists DavideBalula, Gilles Barbier, ValérieBelin, Marc Desgrandchamps, Thomas Fougeirol, Emmanuel Régent, Sophie Ristelhueber, BarthélémyToguo, Jacques Villeglé, and Marine Wallon, currently on loan from French galleries as part of partnership between the French Embassy and the ComitéProfessionnel des Galeriesd’Artnetwork. 

In the afternoon from 2-6pm, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy will host an Open House. During this time, the first, second and third floors of the Payne Whitney Mansion will remain open to the public. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the mansion at their own pace. The Open House is free and open with no advanced registration from 2-6pm. Complimentary refreshments will be provided at the event. 

"At the Cultural Services of the French Embassy we are very proud to take part in this community project, which offers New Yorkers invaluable access to the city's cultural and architectural history,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy. “The Open House program was inspired by the Journées du Patrimoine in France, created in 1984 by Jacques Lang, then French Minister of Culture, which today welcomes 12 million visitors each year. Projects like this resonate deeply with us at the French Cultural Services where our mission is to make culture more accessible and to foster cultural exchange in the arts and education between France and the US.”

At the French Consulate (located 934, Fifth Avenue) tours will begin in the afternoon, from 2pm to 4:15pm (2 – 2:30 pm; 2:45 – 3:15 pm; 3:30 – 4pm; 4:15 – 4:45pm). Advanced reservations are required for this guided tour, along with the $5 OHNY registration fee. Highlights of this tour include the office of the General Consul Anne-Claire Legendre, a Louis XV-style paneled room, as well as the Salon Rose, Salon Cheminée and Salon Chapellereception rooms.A big spiral staircase takes visitors from the entry hall, composed of a marble trompe l’oeil, up to the rooms of the second floor.They feature a sumptuous tapestry measuring more than 30 square yards, The Triumph of Mardocai, produced by the Manufacture Royale des Gobelins in 1752 for the bedchamber of Madame Adélaïde, Louis XV’s fourth daughter, in Versailles. Among the other works of art which adorn the Consulate General are many paintings: The Lake by Hubert Robert (1768); Louis, Dauphin of France by Louis Tocque (1739); The Grateful Child by Henriette Lorimier (1810), The Saint Genet Woods by Raoul Duffy, and a 17th century Italian School landscape. 
The Consulate also includes shimmering chandeliers, black and white hardwood flooring, polychrome coffered wooden ceiling, and marble floor and walls.

“We are very happy to welcome all New Yorkers in this French house in Manhattan. The Consulate is a place full of history. It does not only provide services to the French community but it is also aims at promoting the friendship between the US and France”, said General Consul Anne-Claire Legendre. 

About Open House New York
Open House New York provides broad audiences with unparalleled access to the extraordinary architecture of New York and to the people who help design, build, and preserve the city. Through its year-round programs and the annual OHNY Weekend, Open House New York celebrates the best examples of historic and contemporary design and planning throughout the five boroughs and helps foster a more informed conversation about how architecture and urban design sustain New York as a vibrant place to live, work, and learn. Open House New York is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. For more information, visit ohny.org.

About The Charles E. Mitchell House (The French Consulate in New York) 
The Italian Renaissance-style townhouse, designed by architects A. Stewart Walker and Leon N. Gillette, was built between 1925 and 1926 on Fifth Avenue for Charles E. Mitchell. In 1942, 934 Fifth Avenue became French property. Yet the refurbishment was interrupted when diplomatic relations between the US and the Vichy regime were broken off. French representation did not become official in New York until President Roosevelt recognized the new French government under General de Gaulle in 1944.

In keeping with the spirit of its founders who conceived the mansion as a hub for culture with an emphasis on literature and music, the consulate promotes this tradition and hosts numerous receptions involving the French community every year. The consulate holds up to 150 events every year, including the monthly Conferences@934, which bring together French and American speakers.

About the Payne Whitney Mansion (Cultural Services of the French Embassy) 
An extraordinary example of Gilded Age architecture in New York, the Payne Whitney Mansion was the last creation in 1906 by acclaimed architect Stanford White. The mansion, designed in the high Italian Renaissance style, was brought to life by the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead & White. With its marble reception halls and whimsical Venetian Room, the mansion transports visitors to another epoch. Since 1952, France has owned the Payne Whitney Mansion, located at 972 Fifth Avenue in New York City between 78th and 79th Streets. Today, the Payne Whitney Mansion is home to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Albertine Books.

Created in 2014, Albertine Books occupies space on the first and second floors of the Payne Whitney Mansion. Its interiors were created by celebrated French designer Jacques Garcia (whose work also includes the Chateau du Champ de Bataille in Normandy, France and The NoMad Hotel in New York City). Albertine’s ceiling – a hand-painted mural of constellations, stars, and planets — was modeled after the extraordinary ceiling of the music room at the Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany, crafted by Franz von Stuck (1863-1928).

About Artists’ Time
Artists’ Time is an ongoing partnership between the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and ComitéProfessionnel des Galeries d’Art (CPGA) in which a selectionof French artworksisloanedto the Cultural Services fromamong the CPGA‘snetworkof 240 member galleries anddisplayedon the third floor of the Payne Whitney mansion at 972 Fifth Avenue. The selectionofartworkisrenewedonce a year. These generous loans highlight the richness and diversity of modern and contemporary French art production. New works by both established and emerging artists are presented each year, renewing this unique and exciting partnership. 

Currently on view are a selection of works by contemporary France-based artists DavideBalula (Gagosian New York) , Gilles Barbier (Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois Paris), ValérieBelin(Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels), Marc Desgrandchamps (Galerie Lelong Paris/New York), Thomas Fougeirol (Galerie PrazDelavallade Paris / Los Angeles), Emmanuel Régent (Galerie Caroline Smulders Paris), Sophie Ristelhueber (Galerie Jérôme Poggi Paris), BarthélémyToguo(Galerie Lelong Paris/New York), Jacques Villeglé (Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois Paris), and Marine Wallon (Under Construction Gallery Paris).

About Comité Professionnel des Galeries d’Art
The ComitéProfessionnel des Galeriesd’Art, France’s art gallery association, has represented galleries and defended their interests since 1947. As the representative organization for main stakeholders of the art market among politicians, institutions and administrative authorities, its voice is widely respected and as such, the Comitétakes part in drafting art market regulations and contributes to economic and cultural policies that favor the art sector. It also advises and supports is 240 member galleries, and its expertise and responsible supervision of the art sector enable it to transform and regularly update members on the regulations and current issues of the art market.

About Francis Dubois
Born in Alsace, France, Francis Dubois spent his career working for the United Nations Organization in Uganda, New York, and Palestine, attaining a rank of UN Ambassador in Iraq, Algeria and Tunisia. He is an active member of several non-governmental organizations, including the Paris American Club and the Francophone Cultural Association of the United Nations, and he is president of the Comité du Souvenir Lafayette in New York. Presently, he is the Coordinator of the French Committee at the National Arts Club in  New York, an institution that promotes artists, who are, in his words, "true messengers of Peace.”

Summary: 

Cultural Services of the French Embassy 
Payne Whitney Mansion 
972 5th Avenue (Between 78th & 79th)
Guided Tours: Hourly from 10am to 1pm (10 –10:30am; 11 – 11:30am; 12 – 12:30pm; 1 – 1:30pm)
Advanced reservations are required for this guided tour, along with the $5 OHNY registration fee. RSVP on OHNY website.
Open House: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. 
The Open House is free and open to the public. No reservation necessary.

Consulate General of France In New York    
934 5th Avenue (Between 74th and 75th)    
Guided Visits: From 2pm to 4:15pm (2 – 2:30 pm; 2:45 – 3:15 pm; 3:30 – 4pm; 4:15 – 4:45pm)
Advanced reservations are required for this guided tour, along with the $5 OHNY registration fee. RSVP on OHNY website. 

Contact: 
Cultural Services of the French Embassy: 
Camille Desprez, camille.desprez@diplomatie.gouv.fr

Consulate General of France in New York: 
Martha Pecina, martha.pecina@diplomatie.gouv.fr