Rare and Ancient Documents

The Library and Documentation Center house large collections of extremely rare historical documents on a wide range of supports including books, manuscripts, prints, engravings, photographs, archives of artists and professionals, and ephemera (menus, invitation cards, postcards, labels…).

These collections were initiated in 1864 by the founding members of the UCAD (Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs) who wanted to provide artists and artisans with a store of forms and images for their inspiration. Contributions came from various sources, essentially gifts and bequests of enlightened art lovers, collectors, industrialists and professionals.

With over 150,000 works including 3,000 periodicals (almost 250 of which are current journals), 150 private archive collections, 50,000 engravings, 55,000 photographs and thousands of ephemera, mostly in the volumes of the extraordinary Maciet collection, the constantly expanding documentation center is used as a reference and research library by students, researchers and art historians.