Collections and services

Prints, photographs, and posters

From renowned artists to anonymous masters, from works of art to graphic resources...


Adam and Eve. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Adam and Eve. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

BnF’s collections of prints, built up by the Bibliothèque Royale from the 17th century onwards and added to by the introduction in 1632 of the legal deposit scheme for prints, bring together works by ancient and contemporary French and foreign engravers: Dürer, Callot, Rembrandt, Goya, Hokusaï, Picasso, Matisse, Tapiès, Jim Dine, etc. Most of these collections are held by the Prints and Photographs department.

BnF’s collections of French engravings represent virtually the entire production of prints in France from the 17th century onwards, and continue to grow with the addition of works by contemporary artists and items produced by printing shops (URDLA, Arte-Maeght, Linard, etc.).

The collection brings together unique sets of works, including, for example, the following:

  • xylographic incunabula, 15th century engraved pilgrims’ chests, and primitive Italian engravings (1,000 pieces)
  • Rembrandt’s prints (900 pieces) 
  • Michelle de Marolles’ encyclopedic collections
  • François-Roger de Gaignières’ topographical, portrait, and costume collections and the topographical collections of the farmer-general, Lallement de Betz
  • the historical collections of Fevret de Fontette, Michel Hennin, and the Baron de Vinck de Deux-Orp
  • the Marquis of Béringhen’s collection of prints by masters, and Moreau-Nélaton’s collection of prints by 19th century masters  
  • the Curtis collection with its many Eastern pieces, and a unique collection of illustrated Japanese prints and books 
  • Toulouse-Lautrec’s lithographs (800 pieces) 
  • cliché-verre prints by Corot and Daubigny 
  • donations by Jean Matisse (1978-1981), Hélion (1979-1985), Baselitz (1985), Sam Francis (1988), Barry Flanagan (1988), Louise Bourgeois (1995), etc.
The Arsenal Library (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal) holds a collection of 100,000 prints including portraits, caricatures from the Revolution and the Restoration, and works from the 18th century Italian, German, and English schools.

Several departments at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand) also have prints in their old collections. Examples include the nine volumes of plates forming part of the 20 volumes of the Description de l’Egypte, published between 1809 and 1828 following Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition.

Friday, December 16, 2016

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