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Paris Salon

The Salon, or rarely Paris Salon, beginning in 1725 was the official art exhibition of the
Acadmie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Between 17481890 it was the greatest annual
or biannual art event in the Western world. From 1881 onward, it has been organized by
the Socit des Artistes Franais.
In 1674, the royally sanctioned French institution of art patronage, the Acadmie royale
de peinture et de sculpture (a division of the Acadmie des beaux-arts), held its first
semi-public art exhibit at the Salon Carr. The Salon's original focus was the display of
the work of recent graduates of the cole des Beaux-Arts, which was created by Cardinal
Mazarin, chief minister of France, in 1648. Exhibition at the Salon de Paris was essential
for any artist to achieve success in France for at least the next 200 years. Exhibition in
the Salon marked a sign of royal favor.
In 1725, the Salon was held in the Palace of the Louvre, when it became known as Salon
or Salon de Paris. In 1737, the exhibitions became public and were held, at first, annually,
and then biannually in odd number years. They would start on the feast day of St. Louis
(25 August) and run for some weeks. Once made regular and public, the Salon's status
was "never seriously in doubt" (Crow, 1987). In 1748 a jury was introduced. Its members
were awarded artists. From this time Salon got its undisputed influence.
Prominence (17481890)
The Salon exhibited paintings floor-to-ceiling and on every available inch of space. The
jostling of artwork became the subject of many other paintings, including Pietro Antonio
Martini's Salon of 1785. Printed catalogues of the Salons are primary documents for art
historians. Critical descriptions of the exhibitions published in the gazettes marks the
beginning of the modern occupation of art critic.
The French revolution opened the exhibition to foreign artists. In the 19th century the
idea of a public Salon extended to an annual government-sponsored juried exhibition of
new painting and sculpture, held in large commercial halls, to which the ticket-bearing
public was invited. The vernissage (varnishing) of opening night was a grand social
occasion, and a crush that gave subject matter to newspaper caricaturists like Honor
Daumier. Charles Baudelaire, Denis Diderot and others wrote reviews of the Salons.
The 1848 revolution liberalized the Salon. The amount of refused works was greatly
reduced. In 1849 medals were introduced.
Early splinter groups
The increasingly conservative and academic juries were not receptive to the Impressionist
painters, whose works were usually rejected, or poorly placed if accepted. In 1863 the
Salon jury turned away an unusually high number of the submitted paintings. An uproar
resulted, particularly from regular exhibitors who had been rejected. In order to prove
that the Salons were democratic, Napoleon III instituted the Salon des Refuss, containing
a selection of the works that the Salon had rejected that year. It opened on 17 May 1863,
marking the birth of the avant-garde. The Impressionists held their own independent
exhibitions in 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882 and 1886.
In 1881, the government withdrew official sponsorship from the annual Salon, and a
group of artists organised the Socit des Artistes Franais to take responsibility for the
In December 1890, the leader of the Socit des Artistes Franais, William-Adolphe
Bouguereau, propagated the idea that Salon should be an exhibition of young, yet not
awarded, artists. Ernest Meissonier, Puvis de Chavannes, Auguste Rodin and others
rejected this proposal and made a secession. They created the Socit Nationale des

Beaux-Arts and its own exhibition, immediately referred to in the press as the Salon du
Champ de Mars or the Salon de la Socit Nationale des BeauxArts; it was soon also
widely known as the Nationale.
In 1903, in response to what many artists at the time felt was a bureaucratic and
conservative organization, a group of painters and sculptors led by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
and Auguste Rodin organized the Salon d'Automne.

Salon des Refuss

The Salon des Refuss, French for exhibition of rejects, is generally an exhibition of
works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon, but the term is most famously used
to refer to the Salon des Refuss of 1863.
During this time, Paris was a breeding ground for artists of all forms, poets, painters,
sculptors, etc.Paris was the place to be and the capital of the art world. Any artist who
wanted to be recognized, at that time, was required to have exhibited in a Salon, or to
have gone to school in France. Being accepted into these Salons was a matter of survival
for some artists; reputations and careers could be started or broken, based solely upon
acceptance into these exhibits.
As early as the 1830s, Paris art galleries had mounted small-scale, private exhibitions of
works rejected by the Salon jurors. The clamorous event of 1863 was actually sponsored
by the French government. In that year, artists protested the Salon jurys rejection of
more than 3,000 works, far more than usual. "Wishing to let the public judge the
legitimacy of these complaints," said an official notice, Emperor Napolon III decreed that
the rejected artists could exhibit their works in an annex to the regular Salon. Many critics
and the public ridiculed the refuss, which included such now-famous paintings as
douard Manet's Luncheon on the Grass (Le djeuner sur lherbe) and James McNeill
Whistler's Girl in White. But the critical attention also legitimized the emerging avantgarde in painting. The Impressionists successfully exhibited their works outside the Salon
beginning in 1874. Subsequent Salons des Refuss were mounted in Paris in 1874, 1875,
and 1886, by which time the popularity of the Paris Salon had declined for those who
were more interested in Impressionism, this was not the case for the artist Manet who still
wanted to be acclaimed by the original Salon, looking for permanence and nobility like
many other traditionalists.
mile Zola incorporated a fictionalized account of the 1863 scandal in his novel L'Oeuvre
(The Masterpiece) (1886).
Today by extension, salon des refuss refers to any exhibition of works rejected from a
juried art show.