Salons

 

 

Meta-Impressionism:

Salons

Starting page

 

‘Salon’ is a very general term. It just means a large room where people gather. In the art-world it just means a large room where art-works are exhibited. So you will find many exhibitions that are called ‘Salon …’. But in France in the 19th century ‘the Salon‘ was a large, (two) yearly exhibition in Paris. Without the Paris Salon it was hard to get yourself known as painter and to sell your pictures. More extended it was called ‘The Salon des Beaux-Arts in Paris’ and originally ’the Salon Carré’.

Many books and websites suggest that the ‘impressionists’ were mostly rejected for the Salon and that they were opposed to it. But in reality the relationship of many Impressionists with the Salon was ambivalent. Many partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions often did exhibit at the Salon. Still, a main characteristic of the ‘impressionist’ expositions held from 1874-86, was that they were independant of the Salon.

In some years artists that were rejected for the Salon were able to exhibit at a Salon des Refusés. If there was one, that was a dicision of the State, so they were no independent group exhibitions and in that sense there is not much link with the ‘impressionist’ expositions.

Since 1880 the Salon was organised by the ‘Société des Artistes Français‘, so more independant from the French State. Was this development influenced by the independant ‘impressionist’ group expositions? Several sources suggest there didn’t change much, it still was called ’the Salon’ and the influence of L’Institut stayed large. Still, I think it is good to discern it.

The first Salon de la Société National des Beaux-Arts was held in 1890 at the Champ-de-Mars in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. The year before a group had split of from the ‘Société des Artistes Français‘. The Salons de la Société National des Beaux-Arts can be seen as independant group exhibitions and in this sense as one of the successors of the ‘impressionist’ expositions that stopped in 1886. Many partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions (frequently) exhibited at the Salon de la Société des Beaux-Arts, including Sisley.

Even more important than the Salon were the art exhibitions held at the Expositions Universelle. In 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1900 they were held in Paris. In 1889 en 1900 there were also Centennial exhibitions held of French art, showing the masterpieces of 100 years of French art. In 1889 some partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions were present, in 1900 many.

Later on there were also Centennial exhibitions held of French art in other countries. Many partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions were present.

 

An important aspect of the Salon, the Salon de la Société Français and the Expositions Universelle was the granting of awards. The art-works that were awarded can be seen as the benchmark of art that year. See the links for an impression of these awarded paintings, for the highly awarded painters and a chronological overview.

 

As recalled earlier ‘salon’ just means a large room where art-works are exhibited. Therefore several regional exhibitions were also called ‘salons’.

There were also some independant group exhibitions that were called ‘salon’:

Salon des Indépendents (=SdI); 1884 onwards.

Salon de la Rose + Croix (=SRC); 1892-97.

Salon d’Automne (=SdA) 1903 onwards.

 

 

Recommanded citation: “Meta-Impressionism: Salons, starting page. Last modified 2023/11/15. https://www.impressionism.nl/salons/