Villa les Araucarias, then Carmencita

As witnessed by the motive affixed on the main gate, this villa definitely modern, built in 1925, is a realization of the associated architects Emile Molinié, Charles Nicod and G. de Montaut for the account of the Société Francaise Immobilière de Paris. In 1933, it belongs to the Baron de Dietrich, a powerful industrialist of Alsace-Lorraine region, and as of 1962 to Countess Sampieri.

Irene Cahen d’Anvers, who will become Countess Sampieri, belongs to a rich Jewish family. In 1891, at the age of 19, she is married to Moise de Camondo, a prosperous financier and art collector. The couple has two children, a son Nissim who dies at the age of 25 and a daughter Beatrice. In 1902, Irene divorces and converts to Catholicism in order to marry Count Charles Sampieri, of Italian origin, then in charge of the Camondo racing stables.

Desperate after the death of his young son and not remarried, Moise de Camondo bequeaths to the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs his Paris town house in rue de Monceau together with part of his art collections. The museum Nissim De Camondo is born. When he dies in 1935, his daughter Beatrice is the only heir. She is married to Leon Reinach, son of Théodore Reinach, a wealthy scholar who owns the famous Villa Kérylos in Beaulieu sur Mer. She is sent to a concentration camp during the Second World War and her possessions are confiscated. The whole Reinach family will die in Auschwitz. Her mother, the countess Sampieri, will not be bothered, protected by her Italian name and her conversion. She inherits of her daughter the fortune of the Camondo; a considerable fortune that she will squander in the casinos of the French Riviera. Settled in Cannes in 1962 in the Villa Les Araucarias, she resides there until the age of 91. She probably extends the villa and relays out the gardens. Today it is property of Saudi Arabians and its name is Villa Carmencita 

In 1946, in an exhibition of art works recovered in Germany, the countess Sampieri recognizes "La Petite Fille au Ruban Bleu", her portrait as a child that her father had ordered to the painter August Renoir in 1880. She obtains restitution of this painting belonging to the Camondo-Reinach collection and sells it immediately. Considered a masterpiece of the artist, it now is the property of the Bürhle Foundation in Zurich.


The uncommon history of a fortune and a painting