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Légion d’Honneur

Purchases and assignments

Tribute expositions


The presentation of awards was an important componant of the Salon, it’s successor the Salon de la Sociéte des Artistes Français’ and at the Exposition Universelle. Another way of awarding an artist, was when the state purchased an art-work of an artist or rendered an assignment. The most prestigious award was when an artist was appointed in the Légion d’Honneur. Another form of an award were the (posthumous) tribute expositions at the École des Beaux-Arts.
On this page you will find short info on these awards and overviews of which ‘impressionists’ was awarded. See link for the page on the awarded art-works.
(Note: Some of the information will be rendered in the future.)

Prices at the Salon:
Since 1791 at every Salon medals were awarded by an awards jury. (Another source mentions this was since 1793; iR387). There were first, second and third class medals, also mentioned as gold, silver and bronze medal. Sometimes there were special awards. From 1863 till 1870 there also was a ‘mention honorable’, a ‘prix du Salon’ and a ‘grande médaille d’honneur’ (R88II,p388;iR1;R231;R5,p20). These prices had several catagories, like Historical Landscape (sinde 1816), etching (R61,p14). The mention ‘hors concours‘ meant that the artist no longer could be nominated for a price (because they already received them in the past) (iR1). (I understand this only applies after a first or second class medal.) The prices were awarded for the seperate arts, so for painting, engraving, sculpting. This system of prices was continued when the Salon was organised by the ‘Société des Artistes Français’ (=SdAF) onwards.
In 1877 there were 21 medals handed of which 9 went to pupils of Cabanel en 6 to pupils of Gérôme (R88II,p398).


Prices for the ‘Impressionists’ at the Salon:
Some partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions received prices at the Salon and it’s successor the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français. Some afterwards exhibited ‘hors concours’. I will render an overview:

  • Astruc : exhibited hors concours in 1892 and 1897 onwards (iR1)
  • Boudin received a 3rd class medal in 1881 and a 2nd class medal in 1883; he exhibited hors concours 1885 onwards (iR1;R161,p70;R231).
  • Félix Bracquemond: received in 1866 a medal for an oil painting and in 1868 a medal for an etch (R73,p8+25;iR1;R259); exhibited ‘exempté’ in 1868+69+70; Received in 1872 2nd class medal and in 1881 a 1st class medal; exihibted hors concours 1881 onwards; .
  • Brandon: received a medal in 1865 and 1867.
  • x

Prices at the Exposition Universelle:
Also at the Expositions Universelle (the World exhibitions) prices were awarded. An artist could receive an honorable mention and just like at the Salon, there were first, second and third class medals awarded.


Prices for the ‘Impressionists’ at the Exposition Universelle:
Some partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions received prices at the Salon and/or at it’s successor of the Société des Artistes Français and some afterwards exhibited ‘hors concours’. Some also/ of the Exposition Universelle.

  • Astruc: 1889: honorable mention; 1900: 3rd class medal (iR5;iR35;R231)
  • Boudin received at the Exposition Universelle in 1889 a golden medal.
  • Félix Bracquemond:
  • Jean-François Raffaëlli received at the Exposition Universelle in 1900 a golden medal for his colour etching (aR7,p174).


Légion d’Honneur:
An important award that an artist could receive was to be appointed in the Légion d’Honneur. More than once this was because of achievements at the Salon or at the Exposition Universelle. First one was appointed Chevalier (knight), than Officier, than Commandeur, than Grand Officier and at last one could receive the ‘Grande Croix’ (iR5;iR1;R231).


Impressionists in the Légion d’Honneur:
The following partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions were appointed in the Légion d’Honneur. Some of the ‘impressionists’ refused to be appointed in the Légion d’Honneur.

Purchases and assignments by the State:
Another award it was when a work exhibited at the Salon, afterwards was bought by the State (or the Emperor). Mostly, later on it was displayed in one of the French musea. Another award was when an artist, after success at the Salon, was assigned by the State to make an art-work, for example a mural for a public building.


Purchases and assignments for the ‘Impressionists’:
The state purchased some of the art-works of the partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions. Here I will render a chronological  overview, that will be extended in the future:

  • In 1886 + 1888 + 1892 the state purchased paintings made by Boudin.
  • In 1892 a painting by Renoir.
  • In 1894 a painting by Morisot.

Assignments for the ‘Impressionists’:
Some of the partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions received assignments from the state. In the future I will render here an overview.

  • Félix Bracquemond was commanded to make an etch of the portrait of Erasme. It was refused for the Salon of 1863 and exhibited at the Salon des Refusés. In 1864 it was exhibited as yet at the Salon and then it was already part of the Louvre. Another print was exhibited at the first ‘impressionist’ exposition, see 1IE-1874-25-4.


Posthumous tribute exhibitions at the École des Beaux-Arts:
Some artists were honored with a posthumous exhibition at the École des Beaux-Arts.


My main sources are Monneret (1978-81=R88II,p386-403), Cuzin (1982=R97), Brettell (1987=R210). Other sources are Rewald (1973=R1), Walther (2013=R3), Denvir (1993=R5). See the link for other general References (=Rx) and to the internet references (=iRx). See links for practical hints and abbreviations and for the subscription of the paintings.



Recommanded citation: “Meta-Impressionism: Awards; Légion d’honneur; purchases and assigments; tribute expositions. Last modified 2023/08/27.

Note: additional info and pictures will follow.