Récamier, Juliette

Récamier, Juliette zhülyĕtˈ rākämyāˈ [key], 1777–1849, celebrated French beauty and social figure, née Jeanne Françoise Julie Adelaïde Bernard. At 15 she married Jacques Récamier, a wealthy, middle-aged banker; their marriage was a mere formality. Her fashionable salon was, from the Consulate to the end of the July Monarchy, a gathering place for some of the most influential political and literary figures. Although many men fell in love with her, Mme Récamier, whose nature was ineffably gentle and unpassionate, probably never had any but platonic attachments. The most celebrated of her liaisons was that with Chateaubriand, to whom she devoted the later part of her life. Among her friends were Mme de Staël, Sainte-Beuve, and Benjamin Constant. The famous portrait of her by Jacques Louis David hangs in the Louvre. Her memoirs and correspondence have been published.

See study by H. D. Sedgwick (1940); M. Levaillant, The Passionate Exiles (1956, tr. 1958).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Literature: Biographies