Felix G. Rohatyn, a prominent figure in the world of finance and a former U.S. ambassador to France, passed away on Saturday December 14, 2019 at his New York home, at the age of 91. He had promoted the creation of FRAME and supported this initiative with his wife, Elizabeth F. Rohatyn (1930-2016), co-founder of the network in 1999.
Felix Rohatyn played a pivotal role in the financial rescue of New York City in the 1970’s. An internationally renowned financier, he served as Governor of the New York Stock Exchange, and left his duties as Managing Director of the prestigious investment house Lazard, after nearly fifty years, to join the world of diplomacy. He was appointed Ambassador of the United States of America to France by President Clinton in 1997.
This appointment brought him back to Paris, the city his family had fled to in the 1930’s to escape the rise of Nazism in Austria. Following the rise of the Vichy government in France, his family emigrated to the United States in 1942.
FELIX ROHATYN AND FRAME
Felix Rohatyn encouraged the birth of FRAME at the Embassy of the United States to France in Paris in 1999. This initiative, led by Elizabeth Rohatyn, aimed to broaden relationships between France and the United States through a cooperation program between eighteen museums equally distributed in the two countries. These bilateral exchanges applied to the cultural world, in addition to those in political and economic fields, helped to define the art of diplomacy by Felix Rohatyn. From the outset, the annual meeting for senior museum officials, held alternately in France and the United States, used the French-American Business Council’s exchange model, that he had helped to create.
Felix and Elizabeth Rohatyn mobilized their networks to support FRAME’s development in its early days, and strengthened the association’s activities through generous support from The Felix and Elizabeth Rohatyn Foundation. In 2019, FRAME’s membership includes thirty-two member museums, and has presented 24 exhibitions and produced 15 cultural mediation programs over the past 20 years.
THE SENSE OF SHARING
Felix and Elizabeth Rohatyn shared a commitment to philanthropy. Together they supported education and access to higher education for low-income youth in the United States.
They donated their professional and personal archives to the New-York Historical Society in 2016. In addition to this important donation that bears witness to seminal moments of the 20th century, these two individuals leave behind a vibrant legacy, defined by lives led by commitment to their convictions and public service.
The FRAME members who were fortunate to meet Felix Rohatyn remember a man of great affability, for whom true wealth was achieved through shared knowledge and beauty.
Francophile and francophone, Felix Rohatyn received Legion of Honor Knighthood in 1983 and was raised to the rank of Commander in 1995 and Grand Officier in 2010.
The entire FRAME network expresses its most sincere condolences to Felix Rohatyn’s family and friends.