Festival de l'histoire de l'art
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Le Festival

The Art History Festival

The 9th edition of the Festival de l’histoire de l’art will take place on June 7-9, 2019 on the grounds of the Château de Fontainebleau and adjacent sites.

Since 2011, the Festival is a unique three-day international event organized by the Institut national d’histoire de l’art and the Château de Fontainebleau under the patronage of the French Ministry of Culture. Bringing together artists, museum professionals and scholars from art history and other academic disciplines, the Festival attracts a broad and diverse audience with a common passion for the visual arts.

The public is invited (free of charge and without reservation) to attend more than 350 lectures, panels, debates, film screenings, and book presentations that cover a wide array of artistic practices and media, including photography, video, cinema, the decorative arts and architecture, from ancient times to the present.

The Festival invites 300 professionals from the art world (artists, professors, curators, art dealers, art publishers, students etc.) to present their expertise in a scholarly, yet passionate and accessible way. The event goes beyond art history’s traditional academic borders and offers participants a chance to converse and interact in a festive setting, soliciting discussion on a wide range of practices in the domains of art history, heritage studies, cultural history, film, etc.  It is also an occasion to compare research questions, methods and intellectual models.  

Download the flyer of the 9th edition of the Festival de l’histoire de l’art.

Festivaliers dans la cour d’honneur du château de Fontainebleau lors du FHA 2018 © Thibaut Chapotot

International Students Sessions

International Students Sessions give art history students from France and the invited country(ies) the chance to meet established professionals and share their research with the public. This initiative was started in 2012 and is financed in part by the Fondation Hippocrène.

Approximately 40 Master and PhD students in art, art history, cinema history and conservation studies are the Festival’s guests and are given privileged access to the event.  By offering young scholars a chance to talk about their work with senior artists and scholars, the Festival creates a precious moment of contact between generations.  It also connects the future international community of art historians.

The call for application is open till February 15 (download the english version).


Every year, the Festival chooses a special theme and invites a guest country. This year, the theme selected by the scientific committee is the People and the guest countries are the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland). The program is composed of a large offer of lectures and round tables, non-stop film screenings, a professional book fair and book presentations by the authors, as well as international student sessions and workshops for school teachers.  Guided tours of the Château, concerts, theatre, and family activities are also offered.

Theme: People

The programme on the theme is the result of a call for paper (available on this page), closed since the 20th january.


Guest countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Island

Every year, the Festival invites a guest country to showcase the history of its visual arts and art history practices in all their diversity. The conference program and workshops are also an occasion to meet with artists, learn about current projects, compare methods of research and teaching, discuss museum and heritage policies, etc.

For the 2019 edition, the Festival has chosen to honor the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland).  

The programme dedicated to the guest countries is developed by the festival’s team and spearheaded by a scientific committee of specialists. (There is no call for application related to this part of the programme).



The Festival also offers a range of other events:

Current Events Forum

What’s new in the Art world? The Forum de l’actualité presents the latest news in the art world, asking curators to talk about their new exhibitions or other noteworthy affairs. The Forum also opens the floor for a series of round tables on issues of particular relevance. This year, special attention will be paid to the debate around the restitution of art objects in western museum collections to their countries of origin.  

The cinema’s section

This film festival intends to draw attention to cinema as an artistic medium and make cinema a meeting place between film specialists and a broader audience.  This section presents nearly fifty films in their original format, complemented by introductory lectures and debates, setting out a program that highlights the Festival’s theme and the guest country.

Art Book Fair

The « Salon du livre et de la revue d’art » allows over 80 publishers and book dealers to exhibit their finest publications including art journals and scholarly writings. The public is invited to come and listen authors comment on their recent work. Thanks to the large offer of specialized books and authors’ talks, the fair has become the most important art books event in France.

Tours, shows and family activities

Special activities for children and teenagers (with their schools or families) introduce them to art through the organization of a series of workshops, age-appropriate films, and visits. Concerts and theatre performances add to this rich offer of activities. Group tours of the château, its unique collection and gardens, and other historic sites in the town of Fontainebleau are freely offered. Come and listen to the musicians of the Conservatoire de Paris or the actors of the Comédie Française. Students of the École du Louvre and the Sorbonne University welcome the public for individual visits. They are happy to share their knowledge on subjects as varied as the classical orders within in architecture or the secret meaning of the Galerie François Ier. and cater their explanations to their public.

Spring University

Supported by the National ministry of education, a two-day ‘teachers lab’ for high school teachers provides special training in art historical topics related to the Festival’s theme in the form of lecture sessions and workshops.


The full program of events will be posted on the Festival website in the first week of May 2019. Paper copies program will be also be made available.

Save the date June 7-9, 2019. We are expecting you in Fontainebleau!