The Chalcography was founded in 1797 based on the assembled collections put together under the Ancien Régime. The most important copper plates among them came from the Cabinet of Engraved Plates of the King, established by Colbert, and the archives of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.
The Chalcography’s collections have constantly been enriched over the centuries. Since it was founded in 1895, the RMN has distributed and sold prints produced from original copper plates on the workshop’s presses.
Since 1990, the RMN has pursued a policy of commissioning living artists, thereby assuring the Chalcography a place in contemporary art.