[Luxus Magazine] Meeting with Pierre de Gigord, donor of a rare and dazzling collection of ancient photographs at MahJ

Pierre de Gigord, a major collector with a discerning eye, is the generous donor of a collection of photographs from the Ottoman Empire era. These unprecedented testimonies are presented in the exhibition “Salonika, Jerusalem of the Balkans, 1870-1920” at the Museum of Jewish Art and History, from September 19 to April 21, 2024. Exclusive interview.


On the facade of the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, one of the most beautiful private mansions in the Marais, the poster stands out, immense, magnificent, presenting the exhibition “Salonika, Jerusalem of the Balkans, 1870-1920, the Pierre de Gigord donation.” Salonika, Jerusalem of the Balkans, 1870-1920. Without this donation of 370 photographs and documents to the Museum of Jewish Art and History (MahJ), this exhibition would not exist.


Pierre de Gigord, a great traveler, passionate about the Orient, has led a multifaceted life. A graduate of the National School of Decorative Arts, he was visionary in creating a bohemian hippie fashion trend in the 1970s, based on imported pieces from India and Turkey. He created several chains of clothing and jewelry stores (Anastasia, Diwali…) in France and abroad, where stars of the time came to dress … and have tea.


“On my small scale, in a very disorganized way, I have built up the most important collection in the world on the Ottoman Empire in forty years,” Pierre de Gigord © Corine Moriou


At the same time, this son of a military man collected Orientalist paintings, photographs, and documents from the Ottoman Empire. Heading an impressive collection, he became the indispensable expert-resource for researchers. It was in this context that he collaborated with historian Catherine Pinguet, a research associate at the Centre for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan, and Central Asian Studies (CNRS and EHESS). Based on the core collection of photographs, Catherine Pinguet retraced the history of Salonika, 1870-1920, a publication edited by CNRS Editions in August 2023.


Read full article on Luxus Magazine by clicking here.

Featured photo : Photography of the Landing Stage in front of Olympia Square ©Ali Eniss

Picture of Corine Moriou
Corine Moriou
Corine Moriou was a senior reporter for the L'Express group for 15 years. Today, she works as a freelance journalist. Her favorite subjects are society, culture, travel and well-being. Never blasé, always ready!

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