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Museum Talks | Washington, DC #16 Hillwood – Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Paris

Exhibition, Talk

Credits: Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, (c) Mark Finkenstaedt


March 18, 2024 6:30 pm ET

On Monday, April 22, Villa Albertine hosted Megan Martinelli, associate curator at Hillwood, and Dr. Wilfried Zeisler, Hillwood’s chief curator, for a virtual talk on the current exhibition, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Paris.

This conversation was moderated by Faya Causey, former Head of academic programs at the NGA, and will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

Rewatch the virtual tour below:


Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post was a dedicated Francophile, passionate about French culture, design, and artistry. A regular in Paris, she patronized iconic hotels; attended the theater, opera, and social events; and frequented art galleries, antique shops, haute couturiers, and luxury department stores. As with all aspects of her life, Post’s time in Paris was characterized by her signature style and grace. Experience the City of Light through Post’s eyes. 

Post traveled to Europe on luxury liners and stayed in lavish accommodations, including the Ritz Hotel, Hotel Claridge, and Hotel Raphael. She became a treasured client of designer Louis Vuitton, ordering almost forty travelling trunks for her wardrobe. Once in Paris, Post would spend days visiting her favorite retailers, including Callot Soeurs, House of Paquin, Gustave Beer, Thurn, and Madeleine et Madeleine for fashion; Van Cleef & Arpels and Joel Helft for jewelry; Galerie d’Art Ancien and A La Vieille Russie for antiques and art; and Saint Gobain and Keller for modern luxuries. Marjorie Post’s Paris will highlight these purchases, presenting a treasure trove of French artistry and creativity through fashion, jewelry, luggage, portraiture, decorative arts, and more. 

Hillwood is known for its French collection, comprising furniture, porcelain, precious objects, and tapestries. Though she spent time in Paris in her youth, Post initiated her true appreciation of French fine and decorative arts in the early 1920s when designing her triplex apartment in New York City. When collecting, she valued items that were finely crafted. Today, this aspect of Hillwood’s holdings features a wide variety of objects, nearly sixty of which will be on view in the exhibition. 

The Speakers

Courtesy of Wilfried Zeisler

Dr. Wilfried Zeisler is Hillwood’s deputy director and chief curator. A graduate of Sorbonne University and the Ecole du Louvre, Paris, Wilfried has written extensively on French and Russian decorative arts, including several articles and contributions to books. Since 2009, he has participated in and curated exhibitions in Paris, Monaco, and Washington DC. At Hillwood, his most recent exhibitions were Natural Beauties: Exquisite Works of Minerals and Gems (2020), The Porcelain Flowers of Vladimir Kanevsky (2021), Determined Women: Collectors, Artists, and Designers at Hillwood (2023), and Glass: Art. Beauty. Design. (2023). Wilfried co-authored Konstantin Makovsky: The Tsar’s Painter in America and Paris (2015) and The Houses and Collections of Marjorie Merriweather Post – The Joy of It (2022).

Courtesy of Megan Martinelli

Megan Martinelli joined Hillwood in January 2018 and is the associate curator of textiles, apparel, jewelry, and accessories. She was the lead curator for the 2019 special exhibition, Mid-Century Master: The Photography of Alfred Eisenstaedt, 2021’s Roaring Twenties: The Life and Style of Marjorie Merriweather Post, 2022’s Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior and Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Paris, open February 17 through June 16, 2024. Prior to Hillwood, Megan was a research assistant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, where she assisted exhibitions, including China: Through the Looking Glass (2015) and Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016). Megan holds a Master of Science in Historic Textiles and Costumes from the University of Rhode Island. Her research focuses on identity and expression through fashion and adornment. 

In partnership with

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens

Marjorie Merriweather Post bought Hillwood in 1955 and soon decided her home would be a museum that would inspire and educate the public. Her northwest Washington, D.C. estate endowed the country with the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished eighteenth-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens and natural woodlands for all to enjoy. Opened as a public institution in 1977, today Hillwood’s allure stems from the equally fascinating parts that make up the whole. 

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