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‘‘Discovering past icons’’, AFP’s photographic heritage in the spotlight in Paris this autumn

With an exceptional auction of 200 fine art prints and the first NFTs in its history, a major exhibition at Ellia Art Gallery in the heart of Paris and the publication of a book offering a look at a century of history in 300 photos, Agence France-Presse is honouring its photographic heritage this fall.


From October 26 to November 5, 2022, Ellia Art Gallery will be exhibiting in the Marais district of Paris 200 collector’s prints from the photo archives of AFP, the world’s oldest news agency. The agency is offering visitors an exceptional selection, sometimes iconic, sometimes unpublished, which at the end of the exhibition will be auctioned off in the gallery itself by Elsa Joly-Malhomme (Ader Entreprises & Patrimoine, expert: Antoine Romand) and on

The exhibition-sale offers a dive into the history of news photography. From the Paris Commune in 1871 to the fire at Notre-Dame in 2019, via the Great War, the Liberation of Paris, the first French women’s vote, the raging fists of boxer Marcel Cerdan, actor Jean-Paul Belmondo’s radiant smile and the modernity of Josephine Baker.

Many of the images capture the atmosphere of their era. They surprise us, chill us, delight us... and above all reveal photographic treasures and the unique eye of each photographer.

‘‘The pioneering curator of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, John Szarkowski, who was one of the first to bring news photography into the museum, felt that it had everything to gain by being considered a genre that was more poetic than historical. This sale plunges us into the poetry of the news photo,’’ says Marielle Eudes, director of photo special projects at AFP.

The event will be marked by the sale of the first digital single editions (NFTs) in the history of the agency. In collaboration with, a partner of the British Museum, three NFTs will be offered to collectors: a digital duplicate of the very first AFP dispatch and two iconic images from the news of the last few decades - Serge Gainsbourg burning a 500 franc note on television, and Bernie Sanders’s mittens, an image that has gone around the world and generated countless memes.

‘‘The growing community of crypto-collectors and blockchain technology are now paving the way for new ways of engaging with art, culture and heritage. We have therefore included our first NFTs in the exhibition and in this sale,’’ Eudes said.

The images are being showcased in AFP, une épopée photo (AFP, a photo epic) on 17 October 2022 by Fisheye. It offers ‘‘a sensitive diary of history’’ and demonstrates that news photographs can ‘‘resist the wear and tear of their time’’, writes Michel Poivert, a photography historian, in the preface.

All of the funds raised will go towards safeguarding and restoring the agency’s photographic collection in order to ensure the preservation of this priceless historical, cultural and artistic heritage.

The lots offered for sale are very high quality modern prints made by the Dupon laboratory, and offered as unique copies, signed and certified by AFP as ‘‘special edition N°1/1’’.


‘‘Discovering past icons’’


  • AFP photo exhibition
    From October 26 to November 5, 2022 - Opening hours: 11a.m. to 7p.m.
    Ellia Art Gallery 
    10, rue de Turenne 
    75004 Paris

  • AFP Photo Auction
    Saturday 5 November, 2022 at 2p.m.
    Ellia Art Gallery
    Auctioneer: Elsa Joly-Malhomme (Ader Entreprises & Patrimoine)
    Expert: Antoine Romand
    The auction will be broadcast 


AFP, une épopée photo
Un journal sensible de l’histoire à travers 120 ans d’archives argentiques

195 x 280 mm
340 pages
45 €
On sale mid-October 2022 and available for pre-order at Fnac and then on the site Fisheye







Images are available for media use uniquely for coverage of the exhibition-sale AFP De l’argentique à l’iconique at the Ellia Art Gallery, or the AFP photo book AFP, une épopée photo.. Authorised use : a maximum of three photos (please contact us if you wish to use more). No cropping, and mandatory credit and caption.


Partners for this exhibition-sale:




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