Collection: Agence Roger-Viollet

About the collection

In 1938, Hélène Roger-Viollet and her husband Jean-Victor Fischer, both passionate photographers and travelers, founded the “Documentation Photographique Générale Roger-Viollet” at 6, rue de Seine in Paris. Today, Roger-Viollet still located in its original premises, is one of France’s oldest photo agencies. Having purchased the rue de Seine store from “picture merchant” Laurent Ollivier, together with the collections that were housed in it, Hélène Roger-Viollet and her husband added their family production and, after WWII, started increasing and enriching the archive by continued acquisitions. In this way, they built a photographic collection unique in Europe, covering more than a century and a half of Parisian, French and International history around four main themes: major historical events, Paris, portraits of personalities, and reproductions of art works. The Roger-Viollet collections also offer an astonishing journey through the history of photography, from the production of the Second Empire photographical studios to late 20th century photojournalism.

At their deaths, in 1985, the founders of the agency bequeathed the business and the collections (nearly four million negatives and about two million prints) to the City of Paris. In 2005, the agency was integrated into the Parisienne de Photographie, a local public company controlled by the city of Paris in charge of digitizing and distributing the French Capital’s photographic & iconographic heritage.

In addition to the Roger-Viollet archive, the material distributed by the agency now includes images from the principal museums and libraries belonging to the City of Paris : over two million works, already digitized or reproducible on demand, belonging to the huge collections of the Carnavalet Museum, the Bibliothèque Historique, the Petit-Palais and the Modern Art Museum, as well as more specialized institutions such as the Cernuschi Museum (Asian art), Galliera (Fashion), Bibliothèque Forney (graphic arts) or various writers and artists’ Parisian residences (Victor Hugo, Balzac, Bourdelle , Zadkine).

Since 2005, the agency has enhanced its appeal and widened the scope of its offer by distributing foreign historical collections in France, as well as material by independent photographers who have entrusted their archives to its management.

14 products
An Evening at the Pre-Catelan by Henri Gervex
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Young Woman with an Umbrella (Jeune femme à l’ombrelle) by Eugène Grasset
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The Halles Market (detail) by Léon Lhermitte
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The Halles Market (detail) by Léon Lhermitte
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The Halles Market by Léon Lhermitte
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Hope (L'Espérance) by Auguste Gulbert-Martin
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"Le Petit Journal". 1900 World Fair: the main gate by H. Meyer
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Parisian, Place de la Concorde by Jean Béraud
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Armenonville, the Evening of the Longchamp Grand Prix by Henri Gervex
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Auction sale at the Hôtel Drouot, the "Chat Noir" collection by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen
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Night Party at the Universal Exhibition in 1889, under the Eiffel Tower by Georges Roux
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Petit Palais des Beaux-Arts. Elevation of the posterior façade by Charles Louis Girault
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The Shopgirl (La midinette) by Edgar Chahine
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Young Woman with a Fan by Eugène Grasset
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