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Disability or Genius
All European Rejects
Andy Goldsworthy - Playing in the Woods
Architecture In Fashion
Art Bands' Art
Art Bands' Art II
Art in the sixties
Art Nouveau in Advertising
Artist's Best Friend
Arts and Crafts Movement
Beauty - What Is It?
Bling Through the Ages
Brains Behind Art
Building Steven's Universe
Challenge What You Find Beautiful
Chinese Funerary Practices Throughout History
Cloaking and Masking in Dada and Surrealism
Comic Books and how they provide commentary on society
Currently in Progress
Dark Side of Human Nature
Depression in Art
Disability or Genius
Disney and Its Hidden Art History References
Don't Go with the Crowd
Earth Without Art is just Eh
Effects of Synesthesia on Art
Fashion Designers Who Stole from Art History
Fractals in Art
Goya and political art
Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele
Hidden Self Portraits
Hips Don't Lie
I Pad Art
If Picasso Can Do It... So Can You
Intentional Exaggeration and Distortion of Human Form
Life After Death
Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous
Muses of Leonardo Da Vinci
Ninth Grade Art History Unit
Oh Baby Baby
Picasso and Stravinsky
Poetry and Art
Sports in Art
Structures in Paintings
Subjects in Photography- Old versus New Photography
Taring Padi and the Indonesian Underground
The Artist and the Environmentalist
the Birth of art schools
The Development of Film's Narrative Language
The Evolution of Chinese Funerary Practices
The evolution of pigments
The Forgotten Photographer
The History of the MoMA
The Impact of Impasto
The Influence of Classical Artworks and Art Movements on Contemporary Media
The Modern Age of Comic Books
The Perfect Heist
To Serve the People
Transition to Realism in Soviet Propaganda
Visionaries - Artist of the Mind, Body, and Soul
Water, the Essence of Life
What is a Shadow?
Whatcha Looking at Funny?
Women & Romanticism
You Can't Spell Paint without Pain
All European Rejects
Courbet: Stone Breakers
What is art? I know the statement sounds cliche, but seriously: who is to judge what is considered “good art” and what is garbage? We see throughout history that artists worked toward mastering the ideal and then the real. Conventions were made, measurements were taken, perspective created. All to accomplish what? Honestly I do not have an answer, just more questions. Why did no one question this? Well that is where late 19th century France becomes extremely important. What I believe is the turning point for art.
The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture was the place to study if you were an artist. The first “Salons” were held through this organization and only featured students of the school. The most popular of these exhibits was known as the Salon de Paris in the Louvre. In 1737 it was established that any artists could have worked displayed if they were approved. By whom? I am not too sure because the official jury was not
established until 1748. This jury was populated with members of the academy, supplying a serious bias towards art. Even so, the Salon had a reputation unmatched by all other exhibitions. Serious art critics, dealers, curators and patrons visited from far distances.
Following the French Revolution, the opportunities for foreign artists to submit work increased, increasing the prestige of the organization. The walls were covered floor to ceiling, literally. A Hanging Committee was created to decide what artworks are hung where. The high point of the Salon de Paris was the mid 19th century. So what changed?
Manet: Luncheon on the Grass
The American Civil War, the patent for four wheeled roller skates, the military draft, the rolling printing press… 1863 was a busy year! And a momentous one for art history. The Salon de Paris was still high functioning and so was there jury. In the year 1863 3,000 submitted paintings were rejected by the Salon. Included in this pile was the popular Dejeuner sur L’Herbe by Edouard Manet, and pieces
from Pissaro, Whistler, and Cezanne. These pieces were
Cezanne: Mon Sainte Victoire
each rejected for different reasons, like Manet had the skill of the academy painters but his subjects caused a lot of controversy. For the others listed their painting style was certainly experimental and therefore unapproved by the academy. Naturally artists, and the public were upset with this mass rejection; Napoleon III established a new Salon for these artists and for the public to see. Quickly the salon became known as the
Salon des Refuses, but later it would be recognized as the birth of modern art.
The Salon des Refuses is credited for the rise of “Impressionism.” The term create
d in mockery of Monet’s early piece Impression: Sunrise. This salon showcased pieces
Monet: Impression: Sunrise
from Monet’s circle of friends (Pissaro, Renoir and Sisley). Quickly the popularity of the salon increased introducing new names and ideas to the display featured in the Salon des Refuses, with no jury there were no rules or regulations. Here artists organized their own exhibitions, like the Impressionists did. This second Salon undermined the exclusivity of the one held by the Academie. With the
Matisse: Woman in a Hat
popularity of the Salon des Refuses rising the credibility of the academy also was r
apidly declining. In 1881 the French Academy gave up the salon which eventually became known as the Nationale under its new ownership. The other two popular salons of the time were the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Independants. The Salon d’Automne was different for their fall displays (most shows were held in spring and summer, hence the name). Salon d’Automne was best known for the fauvist movement, featuring artists like Henri Matisse, Andre Derain; it also established the reputations of Cezanne and Gauguin.
Seurat: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
The Salon des Independants was formed by the society of Independent Artists in 1884. The group founded by Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac. Here any artist could hold a show as long as they paid a small fee. This salon held many show of individual styles of those like Archipenko, Kandinsky, Malevich; and became the principal showcase for Neo-Impressionism and Post-Impression. Still today it is one of the leading Salons in Paris.
Van Gogh: Starry Night
So why is this important? Salons and exhibitions are not a new concept. What was so revolutionary was the independence, the freedom to create art just for the sake of it. Impressionism was all about expressing ligh, expressionism: emotion, futurism: machinery, surrealism: dreams and the imagined; there are so many styles that
emerge in about a hundred years. They all follow these salons.
Until the economy and technology of Europe provided for a middle class; “the arts” were a trade, artisans would sculpt, paint, or build things for the wealthy class or the community. Few people were renowned for their incredible skills for the time period, while the rest seemed to just try and learn from those people to better their own profession. Come the nineteenth century, the middle class started to emerge and so did the idea of art for decoration. Influences of Japanese prints and textiles were distinct in these new artists pieces. But still true “artwork” or “masterpieces” seemed to follow strict guidelines and conservative principles.
As time carried on the term “artist” and “revolutionary” seemed to mold together. Still holding onto their artistic conventions they painted pieces that made people think, and get them angry about the world they live in. Artists like Goya and Delacroix depict events that need to be addressed, Courbet and Millet exposed economic problems. They all wanted change.
And yes this is where the Salon becomes this turning point for people. I explained the purpose of the salon and things that came from it, but honestly it was just the right thing at the right tim
e. People were riled up, artists had many new ideas and now they had the opportunity to be taken seriously.
Since the Salon was established in 1863 art became less of an occupation and more of a passion, a means of self expression. Changing the face of art for so many new discoveries in the hundred and fifty years to follow.
Boime, Albert. "Salon Des Refuses and the Evolution of Modern Art." Albert Boime. N.p., n.d.
Web. 29 May 2015.
"French Impressionism - The Art History Archive." French Impressionism - The Art History
Archive. The Art History Archive, n.d. Web. 29 May 2015.
Guilat, Yael. "20th Century Art's Turning Points." Oranim
May 2015.Academic College, 2009. Web. 29
"The Paris Salon (Founded 1667) "Salon Des Refuses" - "Salon Des Independants" - "Salon
D'Automne"" Paris Salon. Encyclopedia of Art History, n.d. Web. 29 May 2015.
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