Kandinsky Library

The Kandinsky Library, as the research and documentation center of the National Museum of Modern Art, acquires, preserves and makes available to a dedicated public one of the most important library, documentation and archival collections devoted to art of XX and XXI centuries.


Since its creation, the collect of personnal papers, special collections, records of artistic events, visual and audiovisual materials etc. makes of Kandinsky Library a central place for archive of modern and contemporary art.

A fonds consists of an entire set of records of any kind, assembled (that is to say created, collected or received) by a creator (person, family or organization) in exercise of its activities and accumulated as the result of an organic process reflecting its functions. On the contrary, a collection is an artificial group of materials, assembled by a person, organization or repository from a variety of source and based on unifying characteristics, for instance their topic or typology.

Holdings guide : To date, more than 180 fonds and collections have been counted and subsequently reorganized into seven major categories of creators, which reflect the diversity of actors involved in art circles: Artists; Architects, designers, engineers and craftsmen ; Art critics, theorists and collectors ; Galleries, bookstores, publishing houses and reviews ; Photographers ; Filmmakers and videographers ; Cultural institutions and events.

The holdings guide (listing the whole of a repository's collections) is available by browsing the classification scheme. The achievement of that guide allowed to make a retrospective work on the holdings. Resulting of systematic work, it has consisted in drawing up a complete and uptaded list of fonds (latest published 2008).

Processing state:It should be noted that some fonds are awaiting archival processing and are therefore not accessible. For some other fonds, an inventory update may be in process, involving some changes of arrangement, labels or reference codes. All informations related to archival processing are given on the high-level description in the finding aid and a hyperlink to ouronline catalog is indicated if necessary.


There are currently about 13,000 artists files made up of various document types: invitation cards, French and international press clippings, press releases, extracts catalogs sales, questionnaires completed by artists, biographies, published texts, leaflets, artworks reproductions, etc.

From miscellaneous provenance (collected by the departments of National Museum of Modern Art, donated by artists and other personalities, donated by cultural organizations), these assembled items constitute folders whom material importance varies widely. hey often offer rare informations about often poorly documented artists of the first half of the twentieth century. Currently, the focus is on artists from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art as well as emerging artists. Thus, the last 40 years of creation in France are particularly well documented.

Two other sets include documents about exhibitions, collective events and general informations on Art in the twentieth and twenty-first century. They contain about 3000 records hierarchised according to the following criteria:

Thematic folders on fourty main artistic movements ; artistic fields (drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, etc.) ; documents related to thematic exhibitions (nature, portraits, nudes, animals, etc.) ; the art environnment with individual folders for art critics, curators etc.

Topographic folders include documents classified by geographical location, by countries and cities.


Kandinsky Library welcomes researchers and students from Master 2, degree of the Ecole du Louvre, the final year for practical schools and postgraduate for architecture and design schools, as well as professionals in art and museums (curators, art historians, teachers, critics, gallerists, etc.)

Derogatory registration: Registration can be done on site on presentation of a student card with a letter from the research supervisor, or a professional card, with a identity photograph. But for reserving archives and documentation, a pre-registration is required. The registration form can be downloaded and sent by e-mail.

Dérogation : For students who not comply with the criteria, but nevertheless require access to Kandinsky Library resources to carry out their research, a derogatory registration request, argued and accompanied by an introductory letter from the supervisor, must be submitted for consideration of the Kandinsky Library director.

Archives and documentation can be accessed only by appointment, on the following reservation terms:

  • A minimum 2 days (excluding weekends) in advance is required for appointments.
  • Depending on the volume of the documents requested, several consultation sessions can be arranged.
  • For some collections, prior authorization of the rights holders may be required.
  • Your reservation request must be sent by email. Once you've completed your research, we recommend you to send it directly from the basket by clicking on the "Reservation request" button.
  • Your reservation will be effective upon receipt of a confirmation email.


On-site reproduction :

For certain documents, the reproduction of documents can only be done with the express authorization of the room manager. This authorization may be refused for reasons of rights or material status of the document. The reproductions are for private use only, any publication or reproduction is subject to the respect of the legislation in force, relating to the intellectual property and obtaining a written authorization from the author(s) or rights owner(s).

  • Scanner : Readers are provided with a color scanner that is freely accessible in the reading room for the reproduction of printed works (excluding reserve copies). Since printing is not possible, you should have a USB key to recover the files.
  • Shooting : Players can use their camera without flash. For archives, readers must complete and sign an application for prior authorization for any photograph.

Digital resources:

  • Viewing images (low definition) : You can freely view, save or download these files. It is recalled that these images are reserved for private use. Their use for insertion in a university research work is possible, insofar as this work does not benefit from a diffusion going beyond the delivery of the copies to the members of the jury, to the University of attachment of the researcher, to the libraries and research centers in which the researcher conducted his research. Any other use requires an authorization request from the rights owner(s). This search is the responsibility of the user.
  • High definition file order : The RMN photographic agency is authorized to market HD files from the Kandinsky Library. It includes requests, quotes and billing. This service only applies to already digitized and online ressources : no digitization can be done on request. To order HD files, please select images in the basket, then send your order via the "order HD files" button. For more information, please contact Mhairi Martino +33 (0) 1 40 13 46 33 or fill in the contact form.


Getting here :

Main entrance, 3rd ground, at the end of the corridor

Opening hours :

The Kandinsky Library is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Reading room is open from 11 am to 5:30 pm

Contact :

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