Ulrich Leben will be giving a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, November 3 at 12 pm. His talk is entitled “Redefining Color at Hôtel Beauharnais: The Restoration of the Furniture and Fabrics from a Private Mansion in Paris of the Empire Period.”


Ulrich Leben is an independent art historian based in Paris and Associate Curator for the Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. He teaches classes on French and German decorative arts and interior architecture for the European programs of Parsons, The New School. From 2010–15 he was Visiting Professor and Special Exhibitions Curator at Bard Graduate Center, where in 2013 he co-curated the exhibition Salvaging the Past: Georges Hoentschel and French Decorative Arts from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. After an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker in Germany he studied the History of Art at the École du Louvre in Paris and received his PhD at the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelm Universität in Bonn. He is the author of numerous articles and exhibition catalogues on the history of French and German interiors and furniture design.

The Hôtel Beauharnais, which today serves as the residence of the German Ambassador to France, is currently undergoing a campaign for refurbishment. In the course of this process, conservators are considering for the first time, historic inventories and documents that survive in American, French, and German archives. Dr. Leben is leading this project under the auspices of the German Center for Art History in Paris. In this talk, geared towards students interested in conservation and curatorial practice, Leben will present discoveries and new attributions and provide insight into the processes involved in the different types of conservation projects. He will focus on the refurbishment of textiles and fabrics, which have led to major changes in the appreciation and recovery of the original vivid color schemes of the early Empire period in this stunning treasure house in Paris.