The Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) is a public institution under the French Ministry of Culture. It fosters and supports artistic creation in France in all areas of the visual arts: painting, performance art, sculpture, photography, installation art, video, multimedia, graphic arts, design and graphic design. It follows young artists closely, provides expertise and support to the emergence of new forms, and assists artists and contemporary art professionals.

The Centre national des arts plastiques is a public collector. On behalf of the French State, it expands and manages France’s national contemporary art collection, the Fonds national d’art contemporain. This collection of unique scale currently holds over 105,000 works and is intended to be an accurate reflection of the current art scene. The management and conservation of these works, acquired over the last two centuries, mobilises specialised skills and numerous areas of expertise.

Another of CNAP’s roles is to bring the acquired works to the broadest audience possible through short-term loans, long-term loans to museums and government buildings, and the co-production of events in France and internationally. Each year, the Centre national des arts plastiques lends some 2,500 works from its collection.

As a cultural partner for museums, schools, art centres and private organisations such as foundations, CNAP purpose-develops “plug and play” exhibitions, from planning through to production, installation and facilitation. Through all these activities, the Centre national des arts plastiques promotes and makes known contemporary artistic creation, as well as opening new horizons. Special programmes assist all audiences in their encounters with the works.

CNAP is currently engaged in a project never previously undertaken: a complete survey of its collection. In an unprecedented operation, over a period of three years no fewer than 37,000 works in deep storage at the La Défense site, west of Paris, will be examined ahead of relocation in 2024 to Pantin, in the greater Paris area. While this will inevitably impact the availability of certain works, the collection will continue to circulate throughout these three years.

CNAP supports artists who are engaged in experimental projects. It also provides financial support to contemporary art professionals (galleries, publishers, art restorers and critics). It has its finger on the pulse of the latest in artistic creation and gives prominence to the projects it supports at national level.

During the Covid-19 health crisis, CNAP continues to support artists and visual arts professionals. This includes a range of measures introduced as of 2020 as part of the government relief package: an emergency fund and an extraordinary meeting of the acquisitions commission were deployed to offset loss of revenue. CNAP-managed public commissions are maintained, including for temporary and reactivatable works for public spaces, the “Image 3.0” national photographic commission, a national commission for prints as part of the Year of the Comic Book, and a commission for performance pieces by women artists.

CNAP's editorial policy stems from its efforts to take contemporary art to a wide audience. Each project is undertaken in conjunction with a public partner or a private publisher. CNAP encourages external contributions so as to offer a variety of perspectives on the works, the artists and the projects.

This new site is designed to provide services that best meet your needs. It gives direct access to the online collection of more than 89,000 works, and explains conditions for short-term and long-term loans. An annotated online directory at www.cnap.fr lists over 2,000 contemporary art venues, grants, awards, scholarships and artist residencies.

Press release
Updated: March 22 2021