Since its inception in 1864, the Central Union of Fine Arts Applied to Industry had been making use of photography, then considered one of the most effective means of training workers and craftsmen, who in turn found it a source of models and inspiration. Throughout its history the library of the Museum of Decorative Arts has been expanding its photography collection via donations, legacies and purchases, often classified by theme and pasted into large albums. Other acquisitions – in some cases donated by their creators – document collection items as well as the big cultural events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the history of fashion. This article offers a portrait of the practices governing this photographic collection and their evolution down the years.
Sébastien Quéquet holds a PhD in Art History. His research currently focuses on the relationship between art and industry, and on the history of the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. His work has been published in exhibition catalogues, journals and conference proceedings. Since 2018 he has been in charge of the photographic collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts, where he curated the exhibition Histoires de Photographie. Collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts (2021).
Keywords: teaching, library, documentation, architecture, fashion, albums