The Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé and its history
From Pathé to the Fondation
In December 1894, Charles Pathé opened his first store selling phonographs. In 1896, he and his brother Emile founded the Pathé Frères company, which was dedicated to the phonograph and the cinematograph. They helped invent the cinema industry and built an entire empire. By 1914, Pathé was the biggest movie company in the world.
From 1922 onwards, Charles Pathé began to develop smaller-format projectors. The Pathé-Baby was created for home use and the Pathé-Rural for screenings in very small theaters.
During the 1930s, Pathé developed its theater network and took inspiration from the American studios to grow its film production business. After a tough period and the war years – during which Pathé made Les Enfants du Paradis amongst other titles – the company redoubled its activity with a series of coproductions, including La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard.
In 1990, the Chargeurs group, headed by Jérôme Seydoux, acquired Pathé Cinéma, allowing the company to once again refocus and develop its film and TV activity.
In 1994, as part of the celebrations of the centenary of cinema, the Pompidou center in Paris organized an exhibition entitled “Pathé, Premier Empire du Cinéma”. In 2001, Pathé decided to create a Heritage Department which led to the creation of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé in 2006. It is recognized by the French state as a public asset.
Previously, the Fondation was housed on the Pathé premises. Then in 2008, the Fondation called on the services of Renzo Piano to design a new venue which would make the Pathé heritage available to the general public.
The role of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé
Since 2006, the aim of the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé has been to conserve Pathé’s heritage and make it available to the general public. It also acts as a research facility for historians, teachers, students, cinema professionals and anyone else interested in cinema.
In addition to its mission to preserve and promote, the Fondation also produces publications such as the prestigious gift box PATHE 1990-2010, celebrating 20 years of Pathé output, and books on the films La Dolce Vita and Les Enfants du Paradis. It has also co-published DVD collections, such as one dedicated to the director Albert Capellani.
Along with Pathé, the Fondation is also involved in the restoration of films such as Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis, Les Misérables by Raymond Bernard, Une si Jolie Petite Plage by Yves Allégret, The Leopard by Luchino Visconti, La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini, Le Bonheur by Marcel L’Herbier, and recently, Les Croix de Bois by Raymond Bernard.
Presided over by Sophie Seydoux, the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé will open its doors to the public on September 10th 2014.