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Musée des Arts Décoratifs : Histoires de Photographies #3 – The Book


This book presents for the first time to both the general public and the specialists the singularity of the collection of photographs of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. […]

The book reveals significant photographic collections of unknown authors such as Henri Bodin, Jean Collas and Paul Henrot while inviting people to rediscover the works of Eugène Atget, Henri Le Secq, Willy Ronis, Horst P. Horst and Laure Albin Guillot. |…]

Designed to highlight the diversity of approaches and uses of photography related to the decorative arts and beyond, this book reveals the quality of a vast and unpublished collection with a particular history.

Our (other) history of photography

Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs


 Museum stories often reveal paradoxical situations, such as photography at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs: a blind spot in its global approach, omnipresent in the constitution of collections, evanescent photography, as if soluble in the air, everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

As early as 1851, during the Universal Exhibition in London, Léon de Laborde  took note of its first steps – photography was not even adolescent – and sang the already promising achievements, industrial art among the industrial arts, a wonderful lever for the progress of  arts. , a new technique with impressive potential: spreading images image, increasing knowledge, surveying the world, to own it in a way, carrying the ferments conducive to the generous idea of ​​what would soon become the Central Union of Fine Arts Applied to Industry, founded in 1864, the matrix of the future museum and library of the Arts decorative. For critics and tradespeople,  photography was a technique suitable for expressing the virtues of teaching and popularization.

From London to Vienna, it became one of the beating hearts of decorative arts museums flourishing everywhere in Europe. […]

The remarkable collections of the museum fiound a powerful echo in the very history of the exhibitions, a history somewhat forgotten in the epic breath of the modern advent of other museums which have drawn a light that the Museum of Decorative Arts had bitterly defended and transmitted since its foundation. […]

It is from this “photographic cross breed” (Éléonore Challine) that the idea has gradually emerged since 2016 to give photography its rightful place undoubtedly within the Decorative Arts Museum, like other parts of its collections, such as the Asian sector, from China to Japan.

After these “Photographic stories”, which weave another story from photography to an unprecedented rhapsody, it will no longer be possible to ignore how much the Decorative Arts museum and library have contributed to the influence of an artistic field in perpetual expansion.

Our (other) history of photography

Olivier Gabet, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs




Under the direction of Sébastien Quéquet, conservation attaché at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. He brought together around thirty authors, museum curators and specialists from each period and each field.


Musée des Arts Décoratifs : Histoires de Photographies

272 pages

350 illustrations

Format: 24 x 29 cm Hardcover

Sale price: 45 euros MAD Edition

Distributed by L’EntreLivres Distributed by BLDD Graphics: DeValence


Histoires de Photographies

Until December 12, 2021

Musée des Arts Décoratifs

107 rue de Rivoli

75001 Paris

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