Salon Doré Timeline

Since originating in the Hôtel de La Trémoille in 1781, the boiserie of this Salon has been moved seven times, each time taking a different form to match a new intended purpose, including its most recent display at the Legion of Honor. This interactive timeline details the long and storied history of the period room from its origins in Paris to its transatlantic voyage to New York, followed by its cross-country trip to the suburbs of San Francisco and its arrival at the Legion of Honor in 1959.

Hotel de la Tremoille

1781

Original Location: Hôtel de La Trémoille, Paris

Originally installed in the Hôtel de La Trémoille (formerly the Hôtel de Neuchâtel, de Béthune and de Châtillon), rue Saint-Dominique, in 1781. It was designed for Jean-Bretagne-Charles, duc de la Trémoille et de Thouars (1737–1792) and his second wife, Marie-Maximilienne, princess of Salm-Kirbourg, whose family lived in the Hôtel de Salm (now the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur), which was the model for the Legion of Honor museum.

Portal

1877

Hôtel de La Trémoille demolished

This hôtel was one of the many victims of Baron Haussmann’s famous urban remodeling of Paris. The owner, the marquise de Croix, was forced to give up this mansion for the construction of the boulevard Saint-Germain.

Salon Dore c. 1904

1879

Hôtel d’Humières rue de Lille

After the demolition of the Hôtel de La Trémoille, the marquise de Croix bought the Hôtel d’Humières and brought some of the Trémoille paneling with her to her new home. The boiserie of the Salon Doré was installed on the first floor. Some of the old paneling from the Hôtel d’Humières was sold to Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild for his new house, Waddesdon Manor, in England. In 1905 the Hôtel d’Humières was demolished to make way for several apartment buildings. This caused a public outcry, resulting in the establishment of the Société d’histoire et d’archéologie du VIIme arrondissement de Paris. The salon was extensively photographed before demolition.

Kahn Mansion pre-1936

1918

Otto Kahn Mansion, 1 East 91st Street, New York

The boiserie was installed as the “French salon” in Otto Kahn’s massive new mansion, with some of the room's original elements moved around. The narrow panels on the chimneypiece wall were moved to the corners, and the large mirror in one wall was replaced by a set of double doors.

Duveen Showroom

1934

Duveen Brothers, 720 Fifth Avenue, New York

After Kahn’s death, his widow sold the room to Duveen Brothers. It was installed as one of the dealer’s main showrooms in New York by the decorating firm of Alavoine. Photographs of 1946–1947 show how the room was extended from 30 to 43 feet in one dimension and from 30 to 23 feet in the other, with the showcases sunk into the walls.

La Dolphine

1952

Richard Rheem, La Dolphine, Burlingame

The Salon Doré was sold to Richard Rheem by Edward Fowles of Duveen Brothers with a false provenance of the more famous Hôtel de Crillon, which was designed by the equally famous architect, Ange-Jacques Gabriel. It was installed in the Rheems’ home, La Dolphine, by the Parisian decorating firm of Decour.

Legion of Honor 1962 installation

1962

Legion of Honor, San Francisco

The Salon Doré was accepted as a gift from Rheem in 1959 on the advice of the architectural historian John Harris. Professor Winfield Scott Wellington, who researched the room and rediscovered its earlier provenance in the Hôtel d’Humières, also advised on its installation. Built to Wellington’s specifications in Gallery 7 of the Legion of Honor, the room included windows and doors, a parquet floor, and a ceiling. It was restored to what were then believed to be its original dimensions of 30 by 30 feet.

Panel installation 1990

1990

Legion of Honor retrofit

In 1990, the Salon Doré in Gallery 7 was de-installed as part of the comprehensive building retrofit undertaken during the first part of the decade.

1990s Study Gallery

1995

Salon Doré re-installed at the Legion of Honor

When the Legion of Honor reopened in 1995, the Salon Doré was installed in Gallery 11 and was shown as a “paneled environment,” without its parquet flooring, ceiling, and windows and without two pairs of doors.

Skurman rendering

2013

Architectural rendering by Andrew Skurman

Gallery 11 was closed as comprehensive conservation and restoration of the Salon Doré's main elements took place in the adjacent Gallery 13, with work by conservators and technicians conducted in full view of the public. This preliminary architectural rendering by Andrew Skurman illustrates the proposed east wall of the Salon Doré.

1781
Hotel de la Tremoille
1877
Portal
1879
Salon Dore c. 1904
1918
Kahn Mansion pre-1936
1934
Duveen Showroom
1952
La Dolphine
1962
Legion of Honor 1962 installation
1990
Panel installation 1990
1995
1990s Study Gallery
2013
Skurman rendering