The BNU offers its readers collections on art that are estimated as containing almost 200 000 items (books and journals, engravings, posters, etc). Books and journals alone acquired since 1920 account for 90 000 items. For the older collections, it is estimated that in 1920 the collections devoted to the various fields of art represented about 60 000 volumes. The collections are a faithful reflection of the culture of their time, indicating a predominance of works on art in the Germanic countries, without being exclusive; the French-speaking area is also well represented, and more generally the geographical coverage is very broad, often reaching beyond the western world. Surveys carried out on ordinary art bibliographies at the start of the century show that, at that time, the library bought almost half of everything produced, in every country.

The library's policy on acquisitions did not change fundamentally after Alsace became French once again; it has broadly remained faithful to the founding characteristics of the collection. This means that the BNU today is without a doubt, alongside the BnF, the richest library in France in terms of art from the Germanic countries. It is also an important encyclopaedic library, in which every sector of art and music is represented.

In addition, a number of valuable heritage acquisitions, personal collections, and a variety of iconographic collections make it particularly attractive in the field of art.


Current acquisitions

In the field of art, the BNU's ordinary acquisitions attempt to follow current events without discrimination as to period or country. This policy corresponds to the diversity of the library's readership, which includes history of art students and researchers, students at architecture and art colleges, students of musicology and musicians, not forgetting the non-student public, which is far from negligible group in the BNU's case. This generalist nature means that acquisitions in the art field have never ceased to be encyclopaedic.

For all types of art (including music), the BNU adds about 1 500 titles to its collections each year, of which about 600 are on art in the Germanic countries. It offers nearly 200 current periodicals.

Thus the works acquired concern every area of art, including music, with the following areas being particularly well represented:

  • art from Germanic countries (also well represented in the Current German Books collection)
  • architecture, town planning, horticultural art
  • cinema and performing arts
  • primitive arts
  • art from non-European countries
  • minor arts, street arts
  • photography
  • popular music

Director responsible for developing the collections:
Christophe Didier
tel.: +33 (0)3 88 25 28 21

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