A Selection of Works Painting - Sculpture
Portrait of Adolphe Crémieux (1796-1880)
Jules Jean Antoine Lecomte du Noüy (Paris, 1842 - Paris, 1923)
Oil on canvas
121 x 120 cm
Photo Gilles Berizzi. Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris
On long-term loan from the Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Isaac Adolphe Crémieux devoted his life to the liberal cause and to the defence of Jewish rights all over the world. Born in 1796, in Nîmes, into an old family from the Comtat Venaissin, he was the first Jewish pupil to gain admission to the Lycée impérial in Paris. A lawyer, he was called to the bar in Nîmes, where he refused to take the more judaico oath (sworn on the Torah) imposed on Jews involved in legal proceedings with non-Jews. His battle led to the abolition of the oath in 1846. He moved to Paris in 1830 and became a member of the Central Consistory, of which he was appointed president in 1843; in 1840 he played a crucial part in the Damas affair (an accusation of ritual murder), alongside Moses Montefiore.
He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1842, and served as Minister of Justice in the provisional government of 1848-1849. Crémieux withdrew from political life under the Second Empire, and devoted himself to Jewish affairs. He was elected president of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in 1864, and worked for that organisation until his death, defending oppressed Jewish communities around the world. He returned to government in 1870. His name remains associated with the decree that gave French nationality to the Jews of Algeria in 1870. He was made a life senator in 1875.