Musée d'Orsay: Databases


The online inventory of collections kept in the Department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre

The online inventory of the Department of Graphic Arts of the Louvre describes and reproduces the drawings, cartoons, pastels and miniatures listed in the original handwritten inventories of the Cabinet des Dessins in the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. It also includes drawings from the Edmond de Rothschild Collection, a collection of drawings recovered from Germany after World War ll and assigned to the French National Museums by the Office des Biens Privés, the collection of paintings on paper and miniatures on loan from the Department of Paintings of other institutions and the collection of autograph works in the Cabinet des Dessins.

Database of manuscripts in the Central Library of the French National Museums

Central French National Museums Library houses a major collection of manuscripts. These include curators’ archives, archaeological archives and artists’ letters. From the 19th century there are also documents relating to the Salons and to the art market. Several collections of manuscripts acquired by the Musée d’Orsay are kept in the Central Library of the French National Museums.

Collective Catalogue of the French National Museum Libraries

This collective catalogue groups together the bibliographic references (monographs, museum catalogues, exhibition catalogues, catalogues from salons and art sales, collections of periodicals, CD-ROMs, etc) of the 23 French National Museum libraries, including the Musée d’Orsay and the Central French National Museums library.

Salons and group exhibitions 1673-1914

The Salons database is designed to allow users to access and search the text content of booklets from artistic Salons in Paris (Salons des Artistes français, Société nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon d’Automne, etc.) and the regions, as well as the main group exhibitions (Impressionist exhibitions, Rose-Croix, etc.) between 1673 and 1914. It is therefore possible to perform searches on the artists and the works exhibited: address, professors, place of birth, title, materials, iconography, owner, etc.

To our great men

The website A nos grands hommes is devoted to the French public statuary from the Renaissance down to 1945, and lists 8,000 statues, groups, busts, reliefs that pay homage to a man, an event, an idea, celebrate the memory of war deads, or merely decorate parks and gardens.

A nos grands hommes was first developed from France Debuisson's collection of 25,000 vintage postcards on which sculptures could be seen. Many resources were added: the repertoire is the result of a 30-year collaboration between France Debuisson and the Musée d'Orsay. It has benefited from the support of the French Ministry of Culture (Department of Museums), the National Institute of Art History (INHA), the Ecole du Louvre and the Labex "past in the present" Paris-Nanterre University) and the Ministry of National Education.

The works are distributed throughout France. Thanks to the information collected, the monument takes its place in the history of the city and of French society; it is nowadays an element of local heritage. The census continues, and the contributions of users are welcome: in all French towns, historians and curious citizens are concerned about their heritage and can contribute to its dissemination.
A nos grands hommes

Index of polychrome sculptures (1848-1916) in French public collections

The first website dedicated to polychrome sculpture, this online index lists painted and/or composite works created between 1848 and 1916, the period examined by the Musée d'Orsay, conserved in French public collections.

Since its opening, the Musée d'Orsay has brought to light the importance of polychrome sculpture through exhibitions dedicated to various artists emblematic of its use, such as Charles Cordier (2004), Honoré Daumier (2005) and Jean-Léon Gérôme (2010).

In 2018, the exhibition In colour: polychrome sculpture in France 1850-1910, set the subject within a broad context, dating back to Antiquity, and explored its different facets up until the 19th century. Extensive inventory work conducted at the time resulted in the publication of an index of polychrome sculpture in French public collections. This index was made possible thanks to the Musée d'Orsay’s documentation resources, which constitute the world’s leading source of information on 19th century statuary. It was subsequently enriched by research in publications, collections catalogues and databases of works from various institutions in possession of polychrome sculptures. A comprehensive study of the one hundred or so museums thus identified helped further clarify and enrich the corpus, which now contains over one thousand sculptures.

In line with this publication, this illustrated and enhanced website provides a single search tool for polychrome sculptures, the history of museum collections and changing tastes over the ages. It emphasises the spectacular and still little-known aspects of 19th century sculpture. This ongoing accumulation is based on a collaborative model, and a contact form is available to indicate new works.

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