Archive centre

Contents of the archives

General documentation

Freely accessible, this deals with artists working between 1848 and 1914, classified by discipline.

In order to plan your visit, consult the directory of artists to find out if the archive centre has a file on the artist in question (there are a few exceptions).

  • painting and drawing
    - French school: files on artists born between 1820 and 1870, classified in alphabetical order.
    - foreign schools: files on artists born between 1810 and 1880, classified first in alphabetical order of country, then alphabetically by surname.
    - the great artistic movements
  • sculpture
    files on sculptors born between 1820 and 1880, classified alphabetically by surname, all countries. There are also thematic files (by foundry, topography, Salons and Universal Expositions).
  • decorative arts
    There are two classifications:
    - alphabetical by name of artists born between 1820 and 1880, or manufacturer active between 1848 and 1880, all countries
    - by material or technique (miscellaneous and anonymous works).
  • architecture

  • There are three classifications:
  • alphabetical by names of architects born between 1800 and 1880, all countries.
  • topographical by country or French department
  • thematic: type of buildings, materials, Salons, exhibitions between 1849 and 1914, etc.
  • photography
    Documentation includes:
    - files in alphabetical order of photographers working from the early days of photography up to 1920
    - thematic documentation by subject (history, technique, place, exhibitions, etc.)

Thematic documentation

This includes files on:

  • personalities who lived between 1848 and 1914 and real or fictional characters represented during this period
  • exhibitions between 1848 and 1914
  • a few specific themes: balls, cabarets, the press, advertising, theatre, etc
  • a selection of places (museums, places represented) classified by country
  • exhibitions organised by the Musée d’Orsay since 1986


Files on the Musée d'Orsay artworks

Each work in the Musée d'Orsay has a documentary file that can be consulted on request. These files comprise documents relating specifically to the work in question: inventory abstract, history, bibliography, exhibitions, analogies and photographs.

The files on artworks can be consulted on request. Applications should be made to the archivist on duty.

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