Art Lending Library

Didier Gourbin

An Art Lending Library?

An Art Lending Library, called “Artothèque” in French, is a structure aiming at spreading the Contemporary Art through the lending of works of art.

This system was first established by artists from Berlin and the Northern countries in the 1950s. France quickly adopted the scheme in order to promote the plastic arts and more specifically the Contemporary Art and make it more accessible to the public.

In France, there are about fifty Art Lending Libraries and some of them are gathered within the national association called ADRA (Association of Development and Research on Art Lending Libraries).

The Rhône-Alpes region is rich with eight lending structures spread all over its territory: in Annecy, Chambéry, Grenoble, Lyon, Saint Fons, Saint Priest, Villefranche and Villeurbanne.

Louise Carles

The Art Lending Library of Chambéry

Chambéry’s “Artothèque” was created in 1986 and presents over 480 works of art today, mainly prints, photographies and a few drawings. This collection offers a specific approach of the Contemporary Art from the 50s to now.

The visitor will find lendable works of art by local to international artists, representing some major contemporary art movements as the Nouveau Réalisme (César, Tinguely...), the Support-Surface movement (Viallat, Pincemin...), the Op Art (Morellet, Vasarely...) and the Figuration Libre movement (Combas, Di Rosa...).


Foreigners not living on the French territory can not borrow any works of art!