French art historian and critic (1851-1929). Papers comprise manuscripts, typescripts, newspaper and journal clippings, autograph
letters, photographs, and ephemera documenting efforts to promote the decorative arts in France. The bulk of the material
concerns international expositions, the founding and growth of the Musée des Arts décoratifs, and Champier’s role as director
La revue des arts décoratifs.
Victor Champier was a major figure in the late 19th and early 20th century art world, who promoted the decorative arts in
his roles as editor, art critic, art historian, and a director of a school. Champier was born in Fleurs in 1851, and left
for Paris to study law in the 1860s. In 1868 he became Gustave Vapereau's secretary and he collaborated with Vapereau on several
works, most importantly La Dictionnaire des Littératures. He seems to have written at least two novels during the 1860s, and during the 1870s Champier collaborated with Paul Dalloz
and his brother-in-law Jean Morel on the literary journal, La revue de France. However, he soon devoted his energies to writing about art rather than literature, especially after serving briefly during
the Prussian War. From 1871 to 1875 he was a major contributor of art criticism for La Dictionnaire Larousse, and in 1875 he assumed the duty of editor-in-chief for L'Art and Musée universelle concurrently. From 1879 to 1887, Champier held the position of art critic for the Le Moniteur universel, and it is during his tenure here that he became an active promoter of the “minor” arts. During this period, Champier also
researched, wrote, and edited L'Année artistique, an up-to-date chronicle of academies, museums, and organizations devoted to the decorative arts in Europe and America. L'Année artistique was published yearly from 1878 to 1882.