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.
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
LE MOULIN DE SAURET
The mill is the first of several textile production companies run by the Leenhardt families.
Eugenie Castelnau (1796–1853)
André Méjan’s niece, Eugenie Castelnau, inherits Fonfrège and she and her husband, Pierre Nicholas Leenhardt build Fonfroide-le-Bas, the first of several family manor houses that rose up around the estate.
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
Fig. 1 Rubia Tinctorum or madder root produces red dye.
Art Institute of Chicago
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.
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.
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.
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.
Émile Littré, 1878
GOD VS SCIENCE
In the 1870’s he challenges Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which has reached France and caused a massive stir.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 RogerLeenhardt 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.
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.
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.