Société anonyme d’artistes

under construction

Société anonyme

coopérative d’artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc



On 27 December 1873 the ‘Société anonyme coopérative d’artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’ was officially constituted. (Sometimes ‘coopérative’ and ‘graveurs’ is left out.) The members had three goals:

  1. the organization of free exhibitions where each person could show his work without jury or honorary awards
  2. the sale of the exhibited work
  3. the publication (as soon as possible) of a journal exclusively related to the arts

The rules were that each member paid 60 francs a year and 10% provision over the sold works. In exchange each of them could exhibited two works, this probably was analogue to the (varying) Salon principal of submitting two works. But this would have ment there were only 62 works exhibited. Partakers could show more works if they paid more. Almost every partaker showed more than two works, but no one paid more then those 60 francs. At the end of the year it was clear every member had to pay 184,50 francs to cover up the debts. 1874/12/17 it was decided to liquidate the Société anonyme… (R3, p135 + 136; R2,p105; R5,p86).
Walther mentions that Renoir and Pissarro were active as founders of the Société anonyme… (R3,p135) and he cals Guillaumin and Rouart as two of the most important members (R3,p138). Wildenstein mentions that Béliard, Auguste Ottin (the sculpture) and Renoir belonged to the supervisory board (R22I,p106). Rewald mentions that Béliard and Rouart were in the inaugural committee (R1,p313).

Members of the  Société anonyme… (R2,p105;R1,p313):

(+1867, 1869, 1870, 1872 and 1873 means they were involved in earlier initiatives)

  1. Béliard (1872; 1873)
  2. Degas (1867) +
  3. Feyen-Perrin, François-Nicolas-Augustin* -/-
  4. Guillaumin (1867; 1873) +
  5. Lepic
  6. Levert
  7. Meyer, Alfred -/-
  8. Mettling, Louis* -/-
  9. Molins, Auguste de -/-
  10. Monet (1867; 1869; 1873) +
  11. Morisot (1867) +
  12. Ottin, Auguste (1870) -/-
  13. Pissarro (1867, 1872; 1873) +
  14. Renoir (1867 + 1872) +
  15. Rouart +
  16. Sisley (1867; 1873) (R2,p105) +

*Note 1: Feyen-Perrin and Mettling did not exhibit at the 1874 exposition, nor at a later ‘impressionist’ exposition. (Maybe Louis Mettling was the teacher of Attendu who only joined the 1874 exposition.)
Note 2: Cézanne and Félix Bracquemond (who later on participated in the ‘impressionist’ expositions) didn’t join the Société anonyme…, but were involved with the initiatives in 1867 + 1872 and respectively 1867 + 1870. Although he participated in 1874, Bracquemond even wasn’t in the list of paying members (R1,p339). But according to Rappard-Boon Bracquemond was among the co-founders (R73,p17).
Note 3: Belloli mentions Cézanne, Boudin, Astruc and Latouche were later invited to participate (R17,p311). It is not clear of he means ‘invited to be a member of the Société Anonyme…’ or ‘invited to join the first ‘impressionist’ exposition organised by the Société Anonyme.
Note 4: Walther mentions Robert as a co-founder of the ‘Société des peintres, sculptures, graveurs’ leaving it vague if this is the same as the ‘Société Anonyme…’ (R3,p692). Wildenstein confirms that Monet succeeded in making Robert to sign in (R22I,p107). Walther also mentions Mulot-Durivage as a member (R3,p684). Walther also mentions Astruc as co-founder (R3,p645).
Note 5: Degas had found the most supporters (R22I,p107). He wanted to avoid the idea it was an exhibition of rejected artists (R1,p313). Degas invited De Nittis, xx (R1,p313). Degas was not able to persuade Tissot and Legros (R1,p313), the latter would join in 1876.
-/-Note 6: not mentioned by Rewald (R1,p313)
Note 7: According to Rewald the following artists did as a member payed contribution but did not exhibit: As earlier mentioned in Note 1: Feyen-Perrin and Mettling, and also: Beaume, Gilbert, Grandhomme, Guyot. (R1,p339).
Note 8: at the liquidation 1874/12/10 of the ‘Société Anonyme…’ the following members / artists were present, called together by Renoir: Béliard, Bureau, Cals, Colin, Degas, Latouche, de Molins, Monet, Auguste and  Leon Ottin, Robert, Rouart and Sisley. Bureau, Renoir and Sisley were in the liquidation committee. (R1,p336) Note: it seems that Guillaumin, Lepic, Levert, Meyer, Morisot and Pissarro were absent. And also other partakers of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition: Astruc, Attendu, Boudin, Félix Bracquemond, Brandon, Cézanne, Debras, Lépine, comtesse de Luchaire, Mulot-Durivage and de Nittis.
+Note 9: Belloli mentions there were 3 members in a ‘Committe of Surveillance’, including Renoir. 7 members were ‘provisional Administrators’, including Monet, Pissarro and Rouart. Other members of the initial group were: Degas, Guillaumin, Morisot and Sisley. Others were later invited to join: Astruc, Boudin, Cézanne and Latouche. (R17,p331)
Note 10: According to Denvir Béliard was part of the founding committee and helped Renoir with the financial administration of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition (R8,p208).
Note 11: Boine calls Auguste Ottin the treasurer of the group (R287,p420).



The following related artists didn’t join:

Several artists didn’t join the ‘Société Anonyme…’.  Many of them ‘… felt the battle for recognition should be fought in the Salon’ and they didn’t want to exhibit together with secondary and tertiary figures (R2,p105+22). Still most of them were involved in earlier initiatives for an (independent) exhibition apart from the Salon (see the years of the earlier initiatives behind their names).

  • Autier (1873)
  • Bazille (1867; 1869; died in 1870)
  • Coste, Nume (1873)
  • Fatin-Latour (1867, 1872)
  • Gautier, Amand (1873)
  • Guillemet, Antoine (1867)
    (He was congratulated by Corot for his choice not to be involved in this gang and received a second medal at the Salon, R22I,p107)
  • Lançon, Auguste
    (Who rejected the invitation of Monet, R22I,p107, and who exhibited at the Salon of 1874, iR1)
  • La Rochenoire, Charles-Julien de
    (Who rejected the invitation of Monet, R22I,p107, and who exhibited at the Salon of 1874, iR1)
  • Lévy, Henri-Michel
    (Invited by Monet who had met him in Zaandam, R22I,p107)
  • Manet (1867, 1872)
  • Marison, Fortuné (1866)
  • Rios, Ricardo de los (R2,p116; invited by Monet, R22I,p107)
  • Solari
    (A sculpture and friend of Zola; rejected the invitation of Monet, R22Ip107)
  • Tissot
  • Visconti (1873)


The following Pre-Impressionists didn’t join:

But they were involved in earlier requests for an (independent) exhibition apart from the Salon.

  • Corot (1867; 1869)
  • Courbet (1867; 1869; was in exile in Switzerland)
  • Daubigny (1867; 1869)
  • Diaz (1867; 1869)
  • Jongkind (1872; 1873)
  • Rousseau (1867)