Claude Monet (1840-1926). “Setting sun in Lavacourt”. Oil on canvas. 1880. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais.
The start of a new decade has also brought a new wave of art entering the public domain. And in France, a collective of 14 museums is starting this year by placing over 100,000 pieces of art on its online portal—all of which are free to download and use as you please. Paris Musées, which runs the 14 City of Paris museums, uses the latest technology to digitize its work, ensuring high-quality imagery.
So if you are a lover of Rembrandt, Cézanne, or Monet, get ready to start searching. These great painters are among the artists whose work is available through the portal. Aside from being able to download a high-resolution, 300-DPI digitization of an artwork, the online collection includes basic information about the piece, as well as instructions on how the public domain license works.
While the online collection contains over 350,000 of the 1 million pieces held at the Paris Musées, there is an easy filtering system to search only royalty-free imagery. And, of course, you can browse by artist, date, material, and location, as well as by color. By registering, you'll also be able to annotate your searches, as well as start your own collection of favorites. If you aren't sure where to begin, Paris Musées has pulled together several thematic collections. Topics include Victor Hugo's caricatures, Women's Fashion and Sport, Artists' Studios, and Paris During the Revolution.
New work is continually being added to the portal, so be sure to check back and see what treasures from Paris' city museums are available online.
Paris Musées has released over 100,000 artworks into the public domain.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). “Ambroise Vollard”, 1899. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais.
Gustave Courbet (1819-1877), “Jules Vallès (1832-1885), writer”, Oil on canvas. Paris, Musée Carnavalet.
Victor Hugo. “The burg in the storm.” Pen, brush, use of feather beards, brown ink and wash, charcoal, highlights in white gouache, reserves, use of a stencil on beige paper. 1857. Paris, Maison de Victor Hugo.
They are all available for free high-resolution download online.
Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). “The Combat of Giaour and Pacha” Oil on canvas, 1835. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais.
Rembrandt Van Rijn (1606-1669). “Rembrandt with a Flaming Saber, 1634”. Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais.
Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). “Railroad physiognomies, number 10 – invasion of the wagons one day when you set off a fun train for five francs from Paris to the sea”. Gravure. Paris, musée Carnavalet.
Paris Musées Online Collection: Website
80,000 Historic Paintings Chronicling the World Before Photography Now Available Online
Van Gogh Museum Puts Nearly 1,000 Paintings and Drawings Online
20+ of the Best Free Online Resources From Art Institutions Around the World
New York Public Library’s Rich Digital Collection Has Over 180,000 Images to Download