Since 1868 at today


The prestigious “Académie Julian” was established in 1868 by Rodolphe Julian as a private studio school for art students, preparing them for the entrance exams of the renowned “École des Beaux-Arts” (School of Fine Arts) and also offering them independent training in arts. Many international students came to study here, in particular Americans and Europeans, who wanted to develop their artistic skills in the renowned “Avant-Garde” Paris.

Up until 1897 women were not allowed to enrol for study at the “École des Beaux-Arts”, they also had to wait until 1903 to be granted the right to compete for the “Prix de Rome”, a prize awarded to promising young artists.

However, with it’s modern outlook and thanks to the fact that Rodolphe Julian and many of his teachers spoke English the “Académie Julian” was the first French art school to accept both women and international students, providing them with highly sought after artistic training.

The success of this prestigious art school was also down to it’s innovative approach incorporated into teaching methods; taking into consideration the needs of students whilst adapting to the ever-changing artistic movements.

Today, ESAG Penninghen students learn to master their art in the footsteps of famous artists and former students  such as Maurice Denis, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, Edouard Vuillard Affichistes (poster artist) such as; Cassandre, Alphonse Mucha and Bernard Villemot, as well as architects Jacques Majorelle and Henri Van de Velde, sculptors; Jean Arp, Jean Dubuffet, François-Xavier Lalanne, filmmaker; Fritz Lang, Photographer; Jacques-Henri Lartigue, plus furniture designer and Architect Eileen Gray.

Since its creation in 1968, ESAG Penninghen has employed teachers from a wide range of professional artistic backgrounds; architects to product designers, graphic designers to web designers, both French and international profiles which has attracted a host of international students from around the world. More and more international students come to study at our school each year. Currently, there are around sixty international students studying at ESAG, which represents nearly 10% of total student enrolment. A large percentage of these students come from Asia (China, South Korean Vietnam, Taiwan) followed by Europe (UK, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Spain, Luxemburg, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Greece, Holland, Sweden). A small percentage of our international students come from countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Mali, Canada, America, Brazil and Mexico.

Thanks to our international partnerships with design schools and art colleges throughout Asia, America and Australia, as well as our active participation in international exchange programs such as SOCRATES/ERASMUS throughout Europe, our students can benefit from a large and comprehensive international network.

From Académie Jullian to ESAG Penninghen


Private studio school for art students established by Rodolphe Julian (open to both women and international students)


Creation of the “Académie  Julian”, 31 rue du Dragon, 76006 a sculpture and painting art studio


Inauguration, at the “Académie  Julian”, of “Atelier Met de Penninghen and Jacques D’Andon, by Gaetan Picon, General Director of Arts and literature under the direction of André Malraux, Minister of Culture.


Creation of ESAG Penninghen, with it’s international jury members. Thanks to it’s continuingly strong educational links to the “Académie Julian”, the school continues to adapt to the ever-changing modern consumer era, with it’s new technology and innovation of products and services.

Developing courses in keeping with the wide range of new and emerging artistic fields: visual communication, graphic design, product design and interior architecture.


Creation of AIAS (International Association of Independent Art and Design Schools) created in Bauhaus, Dessau Germany. The association’s main objective is to strengthen ties within the European art school network and to enhance cultural exchange for international students.


ESAG joins CUMULUS (International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design & Media) a global association promoting art and design education. A pioneer in developing international Erasmus exchange programs.


Organisation of the AIAS General Assembly and creation of the “AIAS Prize of Honour” awarded for international new talent.


Participation in the European Socrates programme (an educational initiative of the European Commission, founded in 1994)


Creation of the Association Cumulus-Rotterdam


Participation in the CUMULUS General Assembly & organisation of the exhibition “European Ways of Life” at the Carrousel du Louvre, where 800 works of art from European students are exhibited.

Putting into place the L.L.P (Lifelong Learning Program) and Erasmus.


Creation of Cumulus-France (regrouping the French schools within the Cumulus network), designated “Team France”, responsible for the organisation of international design events in France.


Raphael Thierry, graduating from ESAG in 1994, receives the “concession prestigieuse”, awarded from the Villa Médicis in Rome.

Introduction of the European higher education system; Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and doctorate levels.


Introduction of the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System)


Erasmus Charter for higher education (ECHE)