Société anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.

 

 

Impressionism: the first ‘impressionist’ exposition

organised by the

Société anonyme

des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc

Introduction:
On 27 December 1873 the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’ was officially constituted. (In English: The Joint Stock Company of Artists Painters, Sculptors, Engravers, etc.) They would organize what is now known as the first ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1874.
In the statutes published 1874/01/17 in the Chronique des Arts et de la Curiosité it was called ‘Société anonyme coopérative d’artistes peintres, sculpteurs, etc.’ (R87,p223;R2,p105+116). So, the term ‘coopérative’ is added and ‘graveurs’ is left out. Still, the statutes mentions the ‘artistes-peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs et lithographes (R87,p223), so the ‘lithographes’ are added. Pissarro had shared a charter of a professional bakers’ union and pleaded for a joined-stock company (R1,p312).

 

Who were the active in the  Société anonyme…?
Which partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions were active in the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’? This is not fully clear. The sources give various informations:
The statutes call Auguste Ottin as treasurer of the group (R87,p223;R287,p420).
The statutes mention that untill the general meeting of the society 7 members are the ‘provisional Administrators‘:
Feyen-Perrin, Mettling, Meyer, de Molins, Monet, Pissarro and Rouart (R87,p223;R17,p311;R22I,p106).
The statutes mention there were 3 members in ‘the provisional supervisory board‘:
Béliard, Auguste Ottin and Renoir (R87,p223;R17,p311;R22I,p106).
The following members were part of the ‘organising committee’:
Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir and Sisley (aR1).
Rewald mentions that Béliard and Rouart were in the inaugural committee (R1,p313). According to Denvir, Béliard was part of the founding committee and helped Renoir with the financial administration of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition (R8,p208). Walther mentions that Renoir and Pissarro were active as founders of the ‘Société anonyme…’ (R3,p135) and he calls Guillaumin and Rouart as two of the most important members (R3,p138). Other members of the initial group, according to Belloli were: DegasGuillaumin, Morisot and Sisley (R17,p311). Castagnary wrote (1874/04/29) about ‘an administative council of 15 elected members, one third of which was to be renewed every year’ (R1,p339).
Degas, Monet and Pissarro were most active in inviting other artists to become a member and to join the first exposition. Degas had found the most supporters (R22I,p107). He wanted to include artists who had earned reputations at the Salon to avoid the idea it was an exhibition of rejected artists (R2,p105;R1,p313).
So, anyway we see an active role for famous ‘impressionists’ like Degas, Monet, Pissarro and Renoir. But, we see also an active role for lesser known artists like Béliard, Guillaumin, Auguste Ottin and Rouart. Morisot and Sisley also seem to have been involved at the start (R17,p311;R54,p75;R2,p105), though others just mention them as member (R1,p313).

Co-founder or only an invited member?
Of several partakers of the ‘impressionist’ expositions it is more unclear if they were co-founder of the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’ or just an invited member that later joined. Rewald mentions 11 initial members: Béliard, Degas, Guillaumin, Lepic, Levert, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro, Renoir, Rouart and Sisley (R1,p313). Moffett mentions 16 artists of whom is seems certain that they were founding members. Apart from the 11 initial members mentioned by Rewald, he adds: Meyer, Auguste de Molins, Auguste Ottin and also Feyen-Perrin and Mettling (R2,p105). Monet had mentioned that it was hard to have at least 15 co-founders (R22I,p107). Porro mentions that Cézanne, Degas, Guillaumin, Monet, Morisot, Pissarro and Sisley were the founders (R54,p75), so adding Cézanne. 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…’.

I now will mention all partakers of the first ‘impressionist’ exposition that were not active in the ‘Société Anonyme…’ and that were not only mentioned as invited members:
Walther mentions Astruc as co-founder (R3,p645), but this is not confirmed by Rewald and Moffett; Belloli mentions he was later invited (R17,p311); Monneret that he was invited by Pissarro (R88II,p232).
Béliard was active and is mentioned as co-founder by Rewald and Moffett; Monneret mentions he was invited by Pissarro (R88II,p233)
According to Rewald Félix Bracquemond wasn’t in the list of paying members and joined just in March (probably) after a talk with Degas (R1,p339+314R22I,p107), but according to Rappard-Boon Bracquemond was among the co-founders (R73,p17).
One source states that Cézanne didn’t join the ‘Société anonyme…’, but Porro states he was one of the founders (R54,p75); other sources mention that he was invited by Pissarro; some were against his partaking (R88II,p233;R1,p314).
Guillaumin was active and is mentioned as co-founder by Rewald, Moffett and Porro; Monneret mentions he was invited by Pissarro (R88II,p233)
Lepic is mentioned by Moffett and Rewald as co-founder (R2,p105;R1,p313;R89,p18); others mention him as being invited by Degas (R88II,p232;;R9;R3;iR3).
Walther (R3) mentions Lépine was a member, Keller seems to affirm this (R19,p35), but Moffett doesn’t mention him as co-founder (R2,p105).
Levert is mentioned by some as co-founder (R2,p105;R1,p313;R89,p18); others mention him as being invited by Degas (R88II,p232;R9;R3;iR4).
Alfred Meyer is mentioned by Moffett as co-founder (R2,p105).
Auguste de Molins is mentioned by Moffett as co-founder (R2,p105).
Morisot is mentioned as co-founder by Rewald, Moffett and Porro; others mention her as being invited by Degas (R88II,p232); Manet tried to persuade her to exhibit at the Salon (R1,p315).
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 just mentions that Monet succeeded in making Robert to sign in (R22I,p107).
Rouart was active and is mentioned as co-founder by Rewald and Moffett; others mention him as being invited by Degas (R88II,p232), which seems inappropriate.

 

Who were invited members of the  Société anonyme…?
Who were the artists that accepted the invitation to become member of the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’?
Note: not all sources mention the same names:
Brandon is mentioned to have been invited by Degas (R88II,p232).
Belloli mentions Boudin was later invited to participate (R17,p311); other sources add by Monet (R88II,p232;R1,p314).
Cals was invited by Monet (R88II,p232;R1,p314).
Belloli mentions Latouche was later invited to participate (R17,p311); Monneret adds by Monet (R88II,p232).
Walther also mentions Mulot-Durivage as a member (R3,p684).
Degas invited De Nittis, writing: ‘As you are exhibiting also at the Salon, one cannot say that we are a manifestation of refused.’ (R88II,p232;R1,p313).
Note: some partakers of the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition are not mentioned in the sources, I assume they also were invited members: Attendu; Bureau; Colin; Debras; Comtesse de Luchaire; Léon Ottin.

 

Which members didn’t join the first ‘impressionist’ exposition?
Some artists payed contribution as a member, but did not exhibit at the 1874 exposition, nor at a later ‘impressionist’ exposition. Moffett and Rewald mention François-Nicolas-Augustin Feyen-Perrin and Louis Mettling. Moffett mentions they were even active in the administrative committee. Rewald adds the names of Beaume, Gilbert, Grandhomme and Guyot. (R1,p339;R2,p105; iR424). (Maybe Louis Mettling was the teacher of Attendu who only joined the 1874 exposition.) Note: I will mention them as para-impressionists.

 

The goals and rules:
In the statutes of the ‘Société anonyme coopérative d’artistes peintres, sculpteurs, etc.’ three goals are mentioned (for the duration of 10 years) (R87,p223):

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

The statutes write that each member had to pay a share of at least 60 francs a year and also 5 francs a month for a social fund. 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 meant there were only 62 works exhibited. Partakers could show more works if they paid more. In fact, almost every partaker showed more than two works, but no one paid more then those 60 francs.

 

The liquidation of the  Société anonyme des artistes…:
At the end of 1874 it was clear every member had to pay 184,50 francs to cover up the debts. 1874/12/10 it was decided to liquidate the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’. (R3, p135 + 136; R2,p105; R5,p86). Renoir called the members together in his house 35, Rue Saint-Georges. Bureau, Renoir and Sisley were chosen in the committee of liquidation (R1,p336;R88II,p235)
The following members / artists were present: Béliard, Bureau, Cals, Colin, Degas, Latouche, de Molins, Monet, Auguste and  Leon Ottin, Robert, Rouart and Sisley. Pissarro was in Montfoucault with Piette. Note: it seems that Guillaumin, Lepic, Levert, Meyer and Morisot 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.

 

Related artists that didn’t join:
Several artists didn’t join the ‘Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc.’, though they were invited and / or were involved in earlier initiatives for an (independent) exhibitions apart from the Salon. 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).
Note: I will add the years in which these artists were involved with an earlier initiatives for an (independent) exhibitions. For more info on these artists, unless otherwise indicated, see para-impressionists.

  • Autier: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1873.
  • Bazille had died in 1870 and had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1869.
  • Jacques-Émile Blanche was invited by Morisot but refused out of modesty (R87,p224).
  • Corot refused to exhibit and (probably) praised others for doing the same; still he was involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1869 (R87,p224;R2,p105)
  • Coste, Nume: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1873.
  • Courbet was in exile in Switzerland (R2,p105), and had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1869.
  • Daubigny: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1869.
  • Diaz: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1869.
  • Fantin-Latour: refused to join with similar arguments as Manet↓ (R1,p315) and had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1872.
  • Gautier, Amand: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1873.
  • Guillemet, Antoine: refused to join (R1,p316) and had been involved in independant initiatives in 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)
  • Henner refused to join (R1,p316)
  • Jongkind: refused the invitation of Monet (R87,p224;R1,p314) and had been involved in independant initiatives in 1872 and 1873.
  • Lançon, Auguste: rejected the invitation of Monet and exhibited at the Salon of 1874 (R22I,p107;iR1)
  • La Rochenoire, Charles-Julien de: rejected the invitation of Monet and exhibited at the Salon of 1874 (R22I,p107;iR1)
  • Degas was not able to persuade Legros, who lived in England (R1,p313); later Legros would join the 2nd ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1876.
  • Lévy, Henri-Michel was invited by Monet who had met him in Zaandam and was ‘scared of compromisisng himself’ (R2,p105;R22I,p107)
  • Manet: refused several invitations (R87,p224), fearing to compromise the success he had just achieved at the Salon (R88II,p232). He felt that the battle for recognition should be fought in the Salon (R2,p105), only participation in the Salon could bring real recognition (R1,p315); Manet also didn’t want to exhibited together with Cézanne (R1,p315). He had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867 and 1872.
  • Marison, Fortuné: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1866.
  • Meissonier would be invited by Degas (aR1; iR202; )
  • Piette made clear to Pissarro in a letter written in the summer of 1873, that he didn’t believe in an association of people of talent, he was afraid of a gang of incapables, who wouldn’t show solidarity (R1,p312); still, he would join at the third ‘impressionist’ exposition in 1877 and posthumously in 1879.
  • Ricardo de los Rios  was invited by Monet and it was probably he who refused because he didn’t want to oppose the State, while being a foreign (Spanish) citizen (R2,p116+105; R22I,p107;R88II,p63)
  • Rousseau had died in 1867 and had been involved in independant initiatives in 1867.
  • Solari, a sculpture and friend of Zola, rejected the invitation of Monet (R22Ip107)
  • Degas was not able to persuade Tissot, who lived in England, though he pointed at the dozen notices in the newspapers prior to the exposition (R1,p313;R2,p105).
  • Visconti: had been involved in independant initiatives in 1873.

 

Sources:
My main sources are:
Rewald (1973=R1,p313+336+339)
Moffett (1986=R2,p105+116)
Walther (2013=R3,p135-138 +645)
Denvir (1993 =R5,p86)
Belloli (1990=R17,p311+331)
Wildenstein (1996=R22I,p107+106)
Porro (1992=R54,p75)
Monneret (1978-81=R88II,p231-235)

For further reading:
In the french edition of Rewald one can find the financial statement (p.365-367) and the minutes of the liquidation (p.368/9) (R1,p340).

additional sources: (=aRx)

  1. impressionistsarts.com//first (extended article on the 1st ‘impressionist’ exposition; with 19 pictures of which 9 were exhibited in 1874 and 5 of Manet; also repeating several myths on Impressionism; =iR374)
  2. culture.gouv.fr//the_new_society (extended article on the Société Anonyme des Artistes Peintres Sculpteurs, Graveurs, etc.; =iR424)

 

Recommanded citation: “Impressionism: The Société Anonyme des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, graveurs, etc. Last modified 2024/02/19. https://www.impressionism.nl/societe-anonyme-des-artistes-peintres-sculpteurs-graveurs-etc/