Go the content
Olympe Aguado's career as a photographer was devoted mainly to reproductions of paintings or 'studies from nature', mostly landscapes and photographs of...
Spiritualist photography, catching the imprint of the "fluid atmosphere vibrating around the edges of a person like the outward signs of his inner, personal...
Claude Monet at Giverny
This photograph was taken in spring in 1921 for the magazine L'Illustration. The Musée d'Orsay owns two other autochromes taken on the same occasion, The...
A Postmortem Portrait of an Elderly Woman
"The artist will go to the homes of those who so wish and for postmortem portraits". This information, worded in various ways, was commonly found in...
This full-plate daguerreotype is most unusual because of its size, its condition and its subject. The pose struck by the two young women, reminiscent of...
A Game of Chess
The scene shown here is in no way a candid shot. Carefully composed for the camera, it evokes genre scenes in painting or one of the games that amused the...
Bellboy at the Palais d'Orsay Hotel
Opened in 1900, the main lines at the Orsay Station were closed in 1939, but the adjoining 370 room hotel remained open until 1972. From the moment the...
As soon as photography on paper was invented, experiments in distorting the image appeared. Consequently, assembling several photographs in a collage became a...
In 1906 Count Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921) bought the Pink Palace in Le Vésinet, near Paris. This residence, clearly inspired by the Grand...
The name of this photographer of rural scenes has not yet been discovered. He appears to have been published exclusively by Adolphe Giraudon, a specialist in...
Nude seen from behind in
In the work of Eugène Atget, the destination of the few rare female nudes that have come down to us still remains uncertain. Were they "documents for...
The Dying Slave
In 1854, Edouard Baldus photographed The Dying Slave by Michelangelo, a sculpture created in 1513-1515 for the tomb of Pope Julius II. When it came into the...
View of Picquigny Station
In 1855, Queen Victoria came to France to attend the Universal Exhibition, and was escorted from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Paris by Emperor Napoleon III. It was the...
A Group of People in the grounds of the Château de la Faloise
This image capturing a group of elegant people at leisure in the grounds of a county house tells us much about that era. Its harmonious composition attracted...
City of Atlanta, N°2
The American Civil War raged between April 1861 and April 1865. The conflict was between the Northern states, powerful, densely populated and moving towards...
The Apotheosis of Degas
This famous image shows that Degas took an interest in photography some ten years before he practised the technique himself. It was taken in summer 1885, in...
Eugène de Bassano
Side Portal of Notre Dame
In parallel with the invention of the daguerreotype in France, in the late 1830s, William Fox Talbot (1800-1877) perfected a photographic process on paper and...
Still life with plaster casts
From very early on, Bayard, an official at the Ministry of Finance, took an interest in the development of photography. He invented a process for fixing...
The only known works by Amelia Bergner consist of a few floral and plant arrangements collected into an album from which this page originates. The method she...
André de Boudinhon
The camp sentry at night, Holzminden
In 1992, some eighty prints relating to a little-known episode in the First World War came into the Musée d'Orsay's collections. They evoke life in the camp...
Julia Margaret Cameron
The parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere
In 1874, the writer Alfred Lord Tennyson asked his friend and neighbour from the Isle of Wight, Julia Margaret Cameron, to illustrate one of his works with...
Nude woman, standing, front view
In the second half of the nineteenth century, artists frequently worked from photographs instead of live models. Common enough for painting, this practice...
In 1859, while Gustave Courbet was staying in Frankfurt with the German painter Victor Müller, he became acquainted with Etienne Carjat, who had been living...
Sculpture: Fragment of a Head
This photograph comes from a set comprising an album of eighteen salted paper or albumen prints of the monuments around Beauvais and sixty-three paper...
The Toulon Roadstead
Charles-Marie-Isidore Choiselat and Stanislas Ratel showed a very early interest in Daguerre's invention. The two men were fascinated by chemistry and alchemy...
Family taking tea in the garden
A leading political figure who occupied a variety of ministerial posts between 1905 and 1931, Etienne Clémentel was a great lover of the arts, and of...
Dead Hare with a String of Garlic
Eugène Cuvelier's father, Adalbert Cuvelier (1812-1871), himself an amateur photographer, set out in an article in the magazine La Lumière the qualities...
Tree and rocks
Eugène Cuvelier, a painter by training, learned photography from his father, Adalbert Cuvelier. He discovered the Forest of Fontainebleau through Camille...
Henry Lerolle with his daughters
The modernity of Degas's painted and sculpted work can also be found in his photographs as, from 1895 onwards, he started practising this technique for a...
Henri Rouart (1833-1912) at home
Henri Rouart, Degas' long-time friend and fellow Louis-le-Grand student, is represented here in the interior of his Parisian home.Rouart, a Master Engineer,...
Hortense Howland (1835-1920), née Louise-Marie Delaroche-Laperrière, was the wife of a rich American, William Edgar Howland. She lived apart from her...
Self-portrait with Yvonne and Christine Lerolle
The photograph was taken at the home of the painter Henri Lerolle, a great friend of Degas. Degas himself can be seen in it, in the company of Lerolle's two...
Rue Royale after the Fires of the Commune
"We walk through smoke; we breathe air that smells of charred wood and varnish, and on all sides we hear the hiss of pumps. In many places, there are...
Hugh Welch Diamond
Portrait of a Mad Woman
In the early 1850s, Doctor Hugh Diamond was director of the Surrey County Asylum, a psychiatric hospital for women. He was also passionate about photography,...
Ingres at the Window
Camille Dolard was one of the many painters who practised photography when the medium had just been invented and was still very attractive. Having entered the...
Construction of the Eiffel Tower, 1887
The construction of the Eiffel Tower in the heart of Paris for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 would demonstrate how photography had become the favourite...
Peter Henry Emerson
This photograph was published in 1895 in the Marsh Leaves album. With its restricted depth of field, very high horizon and above all the marsh grasses poking...
The illustrator Aubrey Beardsley
Frederick Evans, a friend of the writer George Bernard Shaw, was a librarian in London when he started to photograph shells through a microscope, fascinated...
In Deer Leap Woods
The photographer who took this image, both in choice of subject and technique, follows in the tradition of the "primitive" photographers working around 1850....
Constant Alexandre Famin
Shepherd and his flock
In 1881, the publishing house Giraudon presented its collection of images entitled "Rural scenes", destined for a clientele of "intellectuals and artists":...
On the 23 October 1853 the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia. Five months later France and England came into the war on the side of the Turks. Very...
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
In his work as a photographer, Roger Fenton excelled in all genres: landscape, architectural views, reportage, portraits and even, on occasion, still life....
Lady Filmer, a member of Victorian "society" practised photomontage as art brut before the term was invented. She is known to have produced several albums...
Marc-Antoine Gaudin (Attributed to)
The Burial of the Duke of Orleans
During the July monarchy, Ferdinand, eldest son of Louis-Philippe, was a popular prince. Open to... and conscious of the position of the...
The Sea of Ice
In 1904, the Lumière brothers developed the first photographic process for reproducing colour: the autochrome. They thought of using tiny grains of potato...
Attributed to Alexis Gouin
Portrait of Alexandre Dumas
Alexis Gouin, a pupil of the painters Girodet and Jean-Baptiste Regnault, began a career as a miniaturist and from 1847 onwards logically turned towards...
It was in 1908, after meeting the leader of the American pictorialist movement Photo-Secession, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), that Paul Haviland became a keen...
Victor Hugo on the Rock of the Exiles
Between 1852 and 1855, while in exile on Jersey, Victor Hugo developed a passion for photography. The writer had arrived on the Channel Island on 5 August...
Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard
Louis Dodier as a prisoner, 1847
From a rich Parisian family, Baron Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard was one of those wealthy amateurs who brought their talent and passion to early...
Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard
La Rochefoucauld nursing home
A founding member of the French Photographic Society in 1854, Louis Adolphe Humbert de Molard had been exploring different photographic techniques since the...
Throughout his life, the Belgian Symbolist painter Fernand Khnopff carefully concealed the role photography played in the creation of some of his paintings....
The Malakoff Tower
Napoleon III, captivated by Fenton's photographs shown at the 1855 Universal Exhibition held in Paris, decided he would send a team to the Crimea. The team of...
Attributed to Gustave Le Gray
Nature Study, Fontainebleau
Although it has no signature or stamp, this photograph can be attributed to Gustave Le Gray because of its format, tonality and provenance. It came from...
Gustave Le Gray
Salon of 1852
In 1852, Philippe de Chennevières, an inspector of provincial museums and in charge of exhibitions by living artists, commissioned Le Gray to produce an...
Gustave Le Gray
View of the 1853 Salon
This photograph gives an insight into early photography at the Salons in France. In 1852, Gustave Le Gray took several photographs at the exhibition organised...
Gustave Le Gray
Undergrowth at Bas-Bréau
After taking part, in the summer of 1851, in the Heliographic Mission - a commission from the committee for historic monuments to photograph the most...
Gustave Le Gray
Seascape, study of clouds
"It was about time that art came to join in". With these words Nadar welcomed Gustave Le Gray's entry into photography in My Life as a Photographer, a work...
Henri Le Secq
Forest Brook (Montmirail)
Henri Le Secq made his first experiments with photography on paper in 1848, with Gustave Le Gray whom he had met while they were studying painting together in...
Charles Augustin Lhermitte
Flock of sheep
Although Charles Augustin Lhermitte, an amateur photographer, took a great interest in the formal research of the Pictorialists, the Naturalism in the...
The Eiffel Tower hit by lightening
Photographers' interest in the Eiffel Tower did not dry up on its completion. From the balcony of Gabriel Loppé's flat in avenue du Trocadéro, the monument...
Accident at the Gare de l'Ouest
On 22 October 1895, there was a particularly spectacular railway accident at the Gare de l'Ouest, later re-named the Gare Montparnasse. The 26 October issue...
Jumping a hurdle, black horse
In 1887, the Englishman Eadweard Muybridge brought out eleven volumes of photographs entitled Animal Locomotion. Each plate shows views of the same subject in...
Charles Baudelaire in an Armchair
Nadar, a great portrait artist of the 1860's and an acute observer of the bohemian side of Parisian society, photographed the poet Charles Baudelaire...
The Hand of the Banker D.
The title of this photograph, he Hand of the Banker D. (chirographic study) printed in one hour with electric lighting was taken from the catalogue of the...
Pierrot the photographer
In the autumn of 1854 or the winter of 1854-1855, Nadar, who had brought his young brother Adrien into his business, asked the mime Charles Deburau...
A photographer, journalist, critic and caricaturist, Nadar had published a caricature of Jean-François Millet on the 24 July 1852 in Le Journal pour rire,...
The Barrel Organ Player
Living in Paris from 1839, Charles Nègre joined first Delaroche's then Drolling's workshop, and finally Ingres's. Delaroche encouraged his pupils to learn...
Fame riding Pagasus
"Gutenberg gave the world the ability to print inner thoughts; today, sire, you have the means, through heliography, to print the world outside." Through...
It was in 1849 that Charles Nègre moved to the Ile Saint-Louis in Paris, to 21 quai de Bourbon. He would certainly not have been slow to explore the area,...
It was the great French collector, André Jammes, who chose to call this photograph The Vampire, in an analogy with a famous engraving by the painter...
Louis Philippe d'Orléans (duc)
A walk along the lakeside
Philippe, Duke of Orléans, has gone down in history above all for his return to France in 1890, when he confronted the laws of exile, which, since 1886, had...
Group of artists in Rome
We know that the photographer Philibert Perraud left France to move to Rome around 1844. There he produced several daguerreotypes featuring groups of young...
Pierre Lanith Petit
Apparently shortly after he opened his studio in Paris, in 1859, Pierre Petit began to compile a Gallery of the Men of the Day, which later became the Gallery...
Portrait of Yvette Guilbert
The Parisian singer and fortune-teller Yvette Guilbert, immortalised by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Steinlen, Cappiello and so many others, was photographed here...
The Hall of the Main Court Damaged by Fire during the Commune
"We will set off from La Madeleine, turning our backs on its columns pockmarked with bullet holes, to enter the Rue Royale where the damage is much greater."...
View of the interior of the Empress' Chinese pavilion
In 1863, Empress Eugénie had four of the ground floor rooms at Fontainebleau redesigned. One of these rooms was intended to display the oriental objets d'art...
Neo-Gothic church, drawings
A major figure in early photography, Richebourg was, it seems, introduced to the daguerreotype by Daguerre himself. Here, he photographed two drawings by...
Portrait of Eugène Delacroix
This daguerreotype is the first known photograph of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). He was forty-four years old at the time and his contained energy and pride...
The Eiffel Tower - Painter on a rope
Mainly known for his drawings and printmaking work, Henri Rivière practised photography from the middle of the 1880s, probably up to the eve of the First...
Pierre Philibert Pompée
Schweig's name appears several times in the records of pioneer photography. In 1839, after attending a presentation by Daguerre, he demonstrated the...
The Brass Bowl
George Seeley, a member of the American "Photo Secession" group created by Alfred Stieglitz in 1903, features among the great names in early 20th century...
Zouave 2nd Division
When Roger Fenton arrived in Sebastopol in March 1855, the climatic conditions were favourable for the use of wet plates. "From then to the beginning of...
Sunday Night on 40th Street
In the early twentieth century, Edward Steichen was part of the Photo-Secession group created by Alfred Stieglitz in 1902 to promote pictorialism in the...
In 1898, Steichen produced a series of photographs of forests taken at dawn or, in very clear weather, at dusk. "Dusk is such a beautiful time of day – a...
In a photograph from 1901, entitled The Mirror, Steichen was clearly inspired by Utamaro (1753-1806), a Japanese print maker and painter, particularly known...
This monumental nude, from one of the American masters of the Photo-Secession movement, is one of the masterpieces of photographic pictorialism. Brought up in...
Photograph - New York
Paul Strand studied under Lewis Hine (1874-1940), one of the fathers of social photo-reportage. He met Alfred Stieglitz, who introduced him to the European...
William Henry Fox Talbot
Trees Reflected in the Water, Lacock Abbey
William Henry Fox Talbot is, with Daguerre, one of the inventors of photography. But it was his process that went on to a great future as he introduced the...
A Metaphorical Portrait
This Metaphorical Portrait is on the fringe of the traditional post mortem portrait. The deceased is not present, but is curiously evoked by a painted...
Barricade in rue Saint-Maur-Popincourt
This photograph of the 1848 revolution is a precious document; it was taken during one of the four days in June which left several thousand dead among the...
Legal information © Musée d'Orsay 2006
History of the museum
History of the collections
Works in focus
Index of works
Interactive floor plan
Teachers and youth leaders
18-25 year olds
Public administrative establishment
Musée de l'Orangerie