Located in Lausanne, the Musée de l’Elysée is the first museum in Europe to have been wholly devoted to photography. Since its inception in 1985, it has become a major cultural institution,
thanks to the quality of its exhibitions. They reflect the diversity of photographic techniques and attract around 80,000 visitors annually to Lausanne (a city of 130,000 inhabitants). Each year, the Musée de l’Elysée also organises fifteen travelling exhibitions throughout the world which attract more than 500,000 visitors.
Housed in an elegant 18th century mansion, offering a breathtaking panorama of Lake Geneva, the Musée de l’Elysée has a unique collection of over 100,000 prints. These include significant collections of works by Robert Capa, Gilles Caron, Geraldo de Barros, Raymond Depardon, Mario Giacomelli and Sebastião Salgado, to name a few.
The museum is also custodian of several photographic archives, notably those of Charlie Chaplin, Nicolas Bouvier and Ella Maillart. The richness of the collections and the various archives gathered at the museum allow photography to be seen in its historical and aesthetic context, from the first images of the 1840s right up to digital photography.
In addition to its exhibitions of international importance, the influence of the Musée de l’Elysée is assured by the many travelling exhibitions held in the largest museums and festivals in Switzerland and abroad. In the last 25 years, the museum has presented 400 exhibitions both in Lausanne and elsewhere, becoming an institution of international renown.