National Library of France
Collections and services
Practical InformationRichelieu Library (Site Richelieu)
Parc de Saint-Cloud, 1909-1911. Eugène Atget
The department has some 15 million graphic materials of a wide variety of types: drawings, prints, photographs, posters, labels, postcards, fabric samples, playing cards, etc.
Each year, it collects around 40,000 pieces of the following:
It also offers an extensive library collection on techniques and the historical and artistic development of prints, photography, posters and images.
Documents are arranged according to a classification system consisting of 25 series, with collections organized using a dual artistic and documentary approach.
To be noted
le règlement du prix Lacourière 2012 [fichier .pdf – 62 Ko – 21/11/11 – 1 p.]
History of the department
The Cabinet des Estampes was formed in 1667 when the King’s Library acquired 120,000 prints brought together by Michel de Marolles. From 1648 onwards, Jacques Dupuy, guardian of the Royal Library, extended the compulsory deposit scheme, introduced for books in 1537, to prints. However, under Colbert, only a few hundred units were collected under this legal arrangement.
“Estampes de privilège” were deposited from 1672 onwards (these were authoritative deeds granting permission to print and protecting copyright).
In 1720, the Cabinet became a department of the King’s Library. Its collections grew rapidly, absorbing the considerable portrait collection of Nicolas Clément, a guardian of the Cabinet (1712), followed by that of Roger de Gaignières (1716), the Marquis of Béringhen’s collection of prints by masters (1731), the topographical and portrait collection of the farmer-general, Lallemant de Betz (1753), and the history collection of Pierre Fevret de Fontette (1773). Revolutionary confiscations added the Minister Bertin’s Chinese collections and collections from various congregations, including in particular that of the Abbey of Saint-Victor, prints brought together by the Jesuits of Cologne, and the personal collections of the King, the Queen, Monsieur and Madame Victoire, and numerous émigrés.
The library continued to grow at a sustained pace in the 19th century, through both the legal deposit scheme and the addition of a large number of private collections (e.g. the historical collections of Hennin and the Baron de Vinck and the artistic collections of Moreau-Nélaton and Atherton Curtis), and in the 20th century via the addition of contemporary works (by Duchamp, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Matisse, Hélion, Baselitz, Sam Francis, Barry Flanagan, Antoni Tàpies, etc.).
From 1851 onwards, photographers began to voluntarily deposit their output (the legal deposit scheme for photographs was not introduced until 1925). The collections were expanded via the addition of work by photographers from studio collections and press agencies, testifying of the history of photography and photographic practices: they include work by Nadar, Le Gray, Disdéri, Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau, Diane Arbus, Mario Giacomelli, Manuel Alvarez-Bravo, etc.
The department has been based in the hôtel Tubeuf at the Richelieu Library (Site Richelieu) since 1946.
Friday, January 6, 2012