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A DOMAINE. A DYNASTY.

Fonfrège is named after the historic estate in the South of France near Montpellier.

For over two hundred years, the domain has been home to generations of nobles and gentry: names like Castelnau, Imer, de France, Bazille, and Leenhardt.

The Leenhardts in particular became one of the most famous of the Protestant haute bourgeoisie
families in France: a family of artists, intellectuals, industrialists, and explorers.

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T h e l a s t p r i v i l e g e o f o u r c l a s s

is to be able to be familiar with the humble folk without

losing any of the entitlements of our status.


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- M a r i e A m é l i e d e F r a n c e - M a n d o u l
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A marriage between the two families results in the Maison de Vin Bazille & Leenhardt. For two centuries the domaine is a center of local wine production.

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1805

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1810

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THE TEXTILE ENTREPRENEUR

Pierre Nicholas Leenhardt (1786 – 1870)

The domaine is the setting for yet another enterprise when Pierre Nicolas Leenhardt launches a textile mill on the river Lez, which flows through the estate. His father, André Chrétien Leenhardt (1744-1813), was commercial director at the famous Wesserling Textile Mill in Alsace.

THE DAWN OF A
FAMILY TEXTILE EMPIRE

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LE MOULIN
DE SAURET

The mill is the first of several textile production companies run by the Leenhardt families.

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1820

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1847

THE TEXTILE INDUSTRIALIST

Victor Henri Leenhardt (1822 – 1871)

After marrying Sophie Imer (1823–1902), Henri decides to continue the family business of his father, Pierre Nicholas, and joins the Imer’s textile enterprise in Marseille, which then becomes Imer Frères et Leenhardt.

THE LEENHARDT NAME BECOMES SYNONYMOUS WITH TEXTILE DESIGN AND INNOVATION

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Collection Fonfrège

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1865

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Art is creative for the sake of realization,
not for amusement; for transfiguration, not for the sake of play. It is the quest of our Self that drives us along the eternal and never ending journey we must all make. img

FRédéric Bazille

THE PRODIGY

Frédéric Bazille (1841 – 1870)

Frederic Bazille is the most celebrated of all of the artists in the family, but he had relatively little time to earn his laurels before dying tragically in a war battle at the age of 29.

During his relatively brief career, he becomes an important leader in the tight circle of Paris Impressionists. In 9 rue de la Condamine (1870), we see Bazille in his studio with friends Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Emile Zola, Eduard Manet, and Claude Monet.

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1871

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Collection Gartner

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An Iconic Chateau is Born

Henri Leenhardt builds Fonfroide-le-Haut, the massive Gothic Revival chateau that for the next 200 years, is the social center for Languedoc’s most important families.

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1875

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THE SCIENTIST Franz Leenhardt (1846–1922)

Scientist and theologian Franz Leenhardt dedicates much of his life to bridging the divide between theology and science. He makes extensive studies of prehistoric life throughout the Mediterranean, and notably charts the paleontological history of the famous Mont Ventoux near Montpellier.

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Émile Littré, 1878

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GOD VS SCIENCE

In the 1870’s he challenges Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which has reached France and caused a massive stir.

LE vélocipède

Franz Leenhardt constructs one of France's first bicycles (known as a Velocipede) which he rides around Montpellier, his long, black cape flying up behind him.

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THE ARTIST Max Leenhardt (1853 – 1941)

Michel “Max” Leenhardt doesn’t achieve quite fame and recognition of his relative, Frédéric Bazille, but he remains influential for generations of impressionists and modernists that follow him. His plein air style of painting eventually leads to deeply religious work, reflecting his turn to God after the tragic death of his wife.

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LE TRAIN BLEU

In Paris, Max is one of a dozen artists invited to create spectacular murals for the Train Bleu restaurant at the Gare de Lyon. The restaurant is now an official city landmark.

© Le Train Bleu/Groupe SSP

1890

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1898, Collection Fonfrège

Musée Fabre

Max also created some commercial works such as this poster for the aperitif Byrrh, which was produced in the region.

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1900

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THE ARCHITECT Edmond Leenhardt (1870 – 1950)

Two years after graduating from the École des Beaux Arts in Paris, a young Edmond Leenhardt receives the commission to design the façade of the new Petit Palais.

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Collection Fonfrège

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1902

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Collection privée

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© http://www.amiscorbin.com

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THE ANTHROPOLOGIST
Maurice Leenhardt (1878 – 1954)

Anthropologist Maurice Leenhardt pioneers the concept of interactive ethnography at a time when most scholars remained removed from their subjects.

In 1902, he sails to Oceania to study the art and culture of the Kanak tribe. The little known and feared island tribe (they were cannibals) is on the verge of extinction. Leenhardt dedicates the rest of his life trying to save them.

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1945

THE RAVAGES OF WAR

The Nazis occupy and partially destroy

Fonfroide-le-Haut. The family works together to

rebuild the Chateau.

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Collection Gartner

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1959

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THE AUTEUR Roger Leenhardt (1903 – 1985)

Author, actor, and documentary filmmaker Roger

Leenhardt sees the future of cinema and coins the

phrase, La Nouvelle Vague. Along with Jean Cocteau

and Luc Besson, he is instrumental in developing a new

style of cinema, championing the likes of François

Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Jacques Demy. His

critical writings about film inspire André Bazin to

launch the seminal magazine, Cahiers du Cinéma, for

which Leenhardt frequently writes.

Author, actor, and documentary filmmaker Roger Leenhardt sees the future of cinema and coins the phrase, La Nouvelle Vague. Along with Jean Cocteau and Luc Besson, he is instrumental in developing a new style of cinema, championing the likes of François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Jacques Demy. His critical writings about film inspire André Bazin to launch the seminal magazine, Cahiers du Cinétma, for which Leenhardt frequently writes.

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  • La

    Nouvelle

    Vague

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    Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (SNC)

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    © Guardian News and Media Limited

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    Collection Fonfrège

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    The filmmakers goal is to deliver this raw material of a scene, a production, and give the impression that it is not a scene at all.

    imgRoger Leenhardt
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    2013

    A HERITAGE RETURNS

    Bertrand Pellegrin, sixth generation descendant of the Leenhardt family, is compelled to carry on the story of domaine Fonfrège and together with partner Brian Valmonte, they begin developing a line of fine leather goods inspired by the remarkable people who lived on the estate. They establish Fonfrège SAS.

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    2016

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    A BRAND
    IS BORN

    Fonfrege.com is launched and the Westphal bag is the brand’s first best-seller.

    With gratitude to Monsieur Jean Gartner (1922–2014) who, with passion and
    precision, researched the genealogy of this remarkable family.

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