The Petit Palais presents its first free exhibition dedicated to its own photographic collection. The exhibition shows the work of seven artists that have been attracted by the beauty of the museum : Vasco Ascolini, Jean-Christophe Ballot, Stéphane Couturier, Bruno Delamain, Flore, Hélène Langlois, Julien Lescoeur. A hundred of contemporary photographs, purchased since the museum’s reopening in 2005, show the artists’ personal vision of the museum, as well as its history and character.
Photography first entered the Petit Palais as an archival document. At the beginning of the 1990s, it was raised to the rank of art object thanks to the rediscovery and restoration of a remarkable ensemble of daguerreotypes. Since then, the museum has acquired numerous old photographs: ensembles of the Exposition Universelle of 1900, and portraits of figures connected to the collections, such as art dealer Ambroise Vollard, actress Sarah Bernhardt, and of course, the artists themselves. In 2016, the exhibition In the studio. The artist photographed from Ingres to Jeff Koons was the occasion to present a selection of these.
Contemporary photography has not been overlooked either: during the restoration campaign begun in 2000, the Petit Palais opened its doors, and its entrails, to a number of photographers. Privileged witnesses, Flore, Bruno Delamain, Hélène Langlois and Stéphane Couturier have observed and recorded from the inside the profound changes undergone by the Petit Palais. By the re-opening of the museum in 2005, photographers had earned their place. Other artists have since followed suit: Julien Lescoeur, Jean-Christophe Ballot and Vasco Ascolini have all studied the Petit Palais in an effort to capture its spirit or essence. Seven photographers, seven different perspectives, as well as countless individuals have all been seduced by the spirit of this place. We invite you now to follow them on a visual journey that will allow you to (re)discover the Petit Palais in a completely new fashion.
Susana Gállego Cuesta, head curator, in charge of Petit Palais’ exhibitions department