Bethsabée Louise Emilie Béatrix (Batsheva) de Rothschild (1914-1999)
Bethsabée Louise Emilie Béatrix de Rothschild (later known Batsheva) was the youngest child of Edouard and Germaine de Rothschild. She was born in Paris on 23 September 1914.
She spent a war-time exile in New York with her parents where she attended courses at Columbia University, having studied biology at the Sorbonne, and worked in a chemical factory. Like many members of her family, she joined the Free French forces in London. After her divorce from Donald Bloomingdale, whom she had married in 1948, Batsheva became more and more involved with the world of dance, notably as a follower and patron of Martha Graham. Her sojourns in Israel became longer until finally she settled permanently in Tel Aviv.
In the USA she had created a foundation for Art and Sciences in her name, and in Israel, she created more for crafts, arts and learning and science. The Bat-Dor Dance Company was established by her in 1964, and the Centre for Dance Medicine in 1985. Batsheva died in 1999.
The Rothschild Archive holds very few private papers of Batsheva. For information about a small collection of promotional material and production photographs relating to the Bat-Dor Dance Company, see Papers of institutions: Bat-Dor Dance Company »
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild: collection of 'Dance' photographs, 1936-1995
000/1825/12-18, 7 folders
In 1964 Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild established the Batsheva Dance Company (a dance troupe and school) with the help of Martha Graham and founded on her principles of dance. Around 1967 she met and became friends with Jeanette Ordman, a classically trained ballet dancer, and wanted to install her as Artistic Director at Batsheva Dance Company but this received strong opposition from within the organisation which caused a rift between Bethsabée and the Batsheva Dance Company and led to the foundation, with Jeanette Ordman, of the Bat-Dor Dance Company in 1968. This collection of dance photographs was assembled by Batsheva and transferred to the Archive by her executors. The collection includes press photographs and commissioned production photographs, for works presented by the Batsheva Dance Company and Bat-Dor Dance Company, and photographs taken on international tours. 000/1825/18 is a set of production photographs for works presented by the Bat-Dor Dance Company, 1968-1993. Accompanying the photographs are notes recording the name of choreographer, music used, set designer and date of first performance, and lists giving the names of Bat-Dor productions.
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild: publications, 'La Danse artistique aux USA', 1949
000/617/4, 1 volume
La Danse artistique aux USA: Tendances modernes, by Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild (Editions Elzèvir, Paris, 1949). A survey of modern dance in America, covering choreographers, dancers, companies, music, ballets and schools.
Bethsabée de Rothschild was brought up in Paris. In 1940 she moved with her parents to New York. After the war Bethsabée attended a few of Martha Graham’s dance classes and became a friend of Graham’s and a patron of her Dance Company, helping her to buy the school’s building on East 63rd Street, New York largely through her newly established ‘Batsheva de Rothschild Foundation for Arts and Sciences’ and in 1955 sponsored the Martha Graham dance Company’s tour to the Far East. In 1964 Bethsabée established the Batsheva Dance Company (a dance troupe and school) with the help of Martha Graham and founded on her principles of dance. Around 1967 she met and became friends with Jeanette Ordman, a classically trained ballet dancer, and wanted to instal her as Artistic Director at Batsheva Dance Company but this received strong opposition from within the organisation which caused a rift between Bethsabée and the Batsheva Dance Company and led to the foundation, with Jeanette Ordman, of the Bat Dor Dance Company in 1968. See Institutions: Bat-Dor Dance Company for a tribute to Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild and other material relating to the Company.
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild, Bat-Dor Dance Company and Mayor of Tel Aviv, 'Tribute to Mrs Batsheva de Rothschild', 1997
000/1801/1-2, 2 items
Bat-Dor Dance Company and Mayor of Tel Aviv, 'Tribute to Mrs Batsheva de Rothschild', 1997. On 6 July 1997 a tribute to the life and work of Batsheva was held, under the auspices of the Mayor of Tel Aviv and the Bat-Dor Dance Company at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre.
- Programme of the 'Evening of Tribute in Honour of Bathsheva de Rothschild, Sunday 6 July 1999, Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre. The programme lists the order of speakers and events for the evening;
- Souvenir Programme [in English and Hebrew], A Tribute to Batsheva de Rothschild, July 6, 1997, produced to accompany a 'Tribute to Mrs. Bathsheva de Rothschild', Sunday 6 July 1997, Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre. The booklet contains a foreword from Ezer Werizmann, President of Israel, tributes to Batsheva and the Bat-Dor Dance Company, photographs, and essays 'How I function' and 'My Life' by Mrs Batsheva de Rothschild (Printed by the Friends of Bat-Dor Association, 1997).
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild: sale catalogues of collections, 2000
000/2655/2, 2 volumes
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild: sale catalogues of collections:
- Sale catalogue Christie's Important Old Master Paintings, [including works from the collection of the Late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild] held 13 December 2000 (Christie's London, 2000);
- Sale catalogue The collection of the Late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild: Furniture and works of art, held 14 December 2000 (Christie's London, 2000).
Bethsabée (Batsheva) de Rothschild: Mayer Alphonse de Rothschild (1827-1905), custom-made object cases (empty), c.1871
000/2655/1, 5 items
Five large empty wooden cases, c.1871, with metal banding. Each case has a lock, with a key, and a brass insert label on the lid describing the contents, and a later painted label on the front: 'ER 73 1.3, ER 74 2.74, ER 75 3.75, ER 76 4.5, ER 84' 1.84. These custom-tailored and upholstered portable cases were commissioned by Mayer Alphonse de Rothschild (1827-1905) after the Paris Commune of 1871 for many of his collections, so that in the event of any civil unrest, precious objects could be quickly packed and despatched to safety. The cases were put to good use by his son Edouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949), (whose later inventory labels, ER followed by a number, are attached to the cases) during the First World War and the Front Populaire crises of the 1930s. The cases were also used by the Nazis, upon their seizure of Rothschild collections in 1941, and again when the Allies returned objects to the Rothschilds after the war.
These cases held part of Alphonse' collection of antique enamelled glass and crystal, which passed to his son Edouard and thence to Edouard's daughter Bethsabée. When Bethsabée died, her collections were sold in December 2000 by Christie's. Box ER 74.2.74 is depicted with its contents on p.47 of the sale catalogue The collection of the Late Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild: Furniture and works of art, 14 December 2000 (Christie's London, 2000). After the sale, some cases remained unclaimed and unwanted by the purchasers of the contents, and with the permission of the executors of the estate of Bethsabée, Christie's gifted these five empty cases to The Rothschild Archive. A copy of the 2000 sale catalogue will be found in 000/2655/2.