1901

In the gardens

Voir In the gardens
1923

Robert in front of the Petit Trianon

Voir Robert in front of the Petit Trianon
1928

At the Queen's Hamlet, 1928 or 1929

Voir At the Queen's Hamlet, 1928 or 1929
1931

Frida at Versailles

Voir Frida at Versailles
1936

The Mairot family at Versailles in 1936

Voir The Mairot family at Versailles in 1936
07.08.1949

Visit to Versailles, in front of the Fountain of Apollo

Voir Visit to Versailles, in front of the Fountain of Apollo
1955

Josette, a Scotsman and a Mexican in front of the Palace, 1955

Voir Josette, a Scotsman and a Mexican in front of the Palace, 1955
1959

Mom at Versailles, late 1950's

Voir Mom at Versailles, late 1950's
1960

Spanish visitors in the 1960's

Voir Spanish visitors in the 1960's
2010

F & C – Palace of Versailles - 2010

Voir F & C – Palace of Versailles - 2010
2012

K&K at Versailles

Voir K&K at Versailles
2012

The Stroll

Voir The Stroll
Themes Fermer

A short history of family photography

Throughout the 19th...

The start of a collection

The connection between photography and the Palace of Versailles has...

Childhood at Versailles

For the residents of Versailles, childhood at the Palace of...

Visiting the Palace of Versailles in the 20th century

The first decades after the museum opened in 1837 did not meet with...

The history of the Palace of Versailles in the 20th century

The Palace of Versailles was opened to visitors in 1837 by decision of Louis-Philippe, who set up a museum dedicated...

Select a theme of your choice and navigate through the timeline

The start of a collection

The connection between photography and the Palace of Versailles has existed for a long time. The exhibitions “Versailles – Palace of Images” presented at the Grand Palais in 1982 and “Versailles Photographed – 1850-2010” proposed by the Palace in 2010, explored how artists have viewed the estate since the beginnings of photographic techniques.

Versailles, Palais d'Images, photographies 1852-1982The connection between photography and the Palace of Versailles has existed for a long time. The exhibitions “Versailles – Palace of Images” presented at the Grand Palais in 1982 and “Versailles Photographed – 1850-2010” proposed by the Palace in 2010, explored how artists have viewed the estate since the beginnings of photographic techniques. It is surprising to observe that people are not a great presence in the choices made, with attention mainly being paid to the monumental architecture or details of the statues.

But the current collection of some 1,000 photographs by visitors, some dating back to the early 20th century, shows that a visit to the Estate – whether for a Sunday stroll or as a stop on a European tour – was and still is accompanied by taking photos. Moreover, it is certainly not by chance that the cover of the famous book “Un art moyen. Essai sur les usages sociaux de la photographie” (1965), under the direction of Pierre Bourdieu, was illustrated with a photo showing a couple in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles as an example of tourist photography.


This project’s approach is not to reduce photography to just one of its aspects – family, friendly, everyday, touristic, documentary, aesthetic, creative, etc. – but rather to let all these meanings intersect and to tell their story through interviews. The decision was made not to just gather these photos, but also to understand them by taking into account the words of those who posted them, no matter whether they are the owners or heirs, and to stay close to the stories in the texts that accompany the snapshots.

These first interviews will have to be rounded out to add to our understanding of the connections between the Palace, its visitors, and photography, as well as to explore the scales at work: from local (a public garden) to international (a tourist site); from a family history (intimate as well as socially ritualised) to the history of France; from the first uses of leisure photography to photographic games, etc. The challenge here is to confirm that the connections and the representations that unite the public and an institution are part of the history of that institution and therefore need to be explored…

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