Art Market

More than 100,000 artworks from Paris museums’ collections are now available for free online.

Christy Kuesel
Jan 13, 2020 6:24PM, via Hyperallergic

George Roux, Fête de nuit à l'Exposition universelle de 1889, sous la tour Eiffel, ca. 1889. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris. CC0 Paris Musées / Musée Carnavalet.

Lovers of French art can now see more than 100,000 artworks belonging to Parisian museums in great detail, whether they make it to France or not. Paris Musées, a group that includes 14 Parisian museums—among them the Petit Palais, the city’s Musée d’Art Moderne, and the Catacombs—now offers digital versions of some of the works in its museums’ collections online. Through the site’s collections portal, users can now download rights-free images of the works, along with details about them, and a guide for how to use and cite images.

“Making this data available guarantees that our digital files can be freely accessed and reused by anyone or everyone, without any technical, legal, or financial restraints, whether for commercial use or not,” Paris Musées said in a statement, according to Hyperallergic. The museums group receives many inquiries from researchers, students, and educators interested in viewing or reproducing the museums’ artworks.

The artworks made available include works like Paul Cézanne’s Portrait d’Ambroise Vollard (1899), a trove of Eugène Atget photographs, and Jacques Daret’s Presentation in the Temple (ca. 1434–35). Paris Musées has also broken down the collections into different themes, including Paris during the Revolution and Artist Workshops, and organized a virtual exhibition featuring works from Victor Hugo’s home.

“From archaeology to fashion and contemporary art, the collections are remarkably diverse and they are still being digitized,” Philippe Riviere, head of digital and communications for Paris Musées, said in an interview with the Europeana Foundation. Paris Musées started digitizing member museums’ collections in 2016.

The works are available under a CC0 (Creative Commons Zero) license, meaning that all copyrights have been waived, and no rights are reserved by the the creators of the work. Other works still under copyright are available through the collections portal, but will only be made available as low-resolution files.

Christy Kuesel