The Paris Fine Art Salon/Le Salon, 1791–1881
Table Of Contents
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Contents/Table des matières
- List of Illustrations/Liste d’illustrations
- Au seuil du Salon
- Le Salon et le marché de l’art moderne à Paris (1791–1799)
- Salon and Early Republican Experiments in State Patronage
- Delphine Gay and the Paris Salon
- Le Salon des Refusés ne date pas de 1863! Les enjeux d’un face à face entre le Salon de l’opposition et le Salon officiel en 1827
- Painting for the Paris Salon? The French State, Artists and Academy, 1830–1852 (Arts and Humanities Research Project)
- I. Legislating for the Salon, 1830–1833
- II. Artists at the Salon during the July Monarchy
- III. The Academy and the Salon Jury, 1831–1848
- Étienne-Jean Delécluze (1781–1863), un observateur privilégié du Salon au XIXe siècle
- Les Salons de 1843 et de 1844, miroirs d’une époque
- Between Capitals and Provinces: The French Painter Sophie Rude (1797–1867)
- La question du Salon au Louvre 1850–1853
- Usages et enjeux de l’exposition au Salon pour les peintres étrangers, 1852–1881
- The Paris Salons 1791–1881: Controversies and Debates in the North of Italy in the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
- Sculpting a National Career Abroad: Belgian Sculptors at the Paris Salon
- L’influence des Salons au-delà des frontières nationales : le cas des Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes
- Literature and Painting at the Paris Salon, 1699–1881
- The Demand for Peasants: A Statistical Analysis of Rural Imagery at the Paris Salon
- Shifting Institutional Practices during the Second Empire: The Salon Lottery of 1859
- The Exhibition of Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours in the French Salon: 1863–1881
- Le Prix du Salon
- ‘Turquet’s Turkey’: Ending the Salon
- Exposer hors du Salon
- Select Bibliography/Guide bibliographique
- Notes on Contributors/Notes biographiques
- Series Index
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|Figure 1||Henri Nicolas Van Gorp, Portrait de Guillaume-Jean Constantin, huile sur toile, 81 × 64.5 cm. Musée national des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau. Photo : Gérard Blot. © RMN-Grand Palais (musée des châteaux de Malmaison et de Bois-Préau).|
|Figure 2||Jean Siméon Chardin (1699–1779), L’enfant au toton, portrait de Gabriel-Auguste Godefroy (1728–1813), huile sur toile, 67 × 76 cm. Paris, musée du Louvre. Photo : Stéphane Maréchalle. © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre).|
|Figure 3||Charles Thévenin, Oedipus and Antigone, oil on canvas, 310 × 260 cm. Paris, Assemblée nationale. Salon of 1798. Photo: akg-images / Laurent Lecat.|
|Figure 4||Charles Thévenin, General Augereau Leading the Charge to Attack the Pont d’Arcole, oil on canvas, 362 × 268 cm. Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. Salon of 1798. Cliché des Musées nationaux.|
|Figure 5||Jean-Pierre-Marie Jazet, after François-Joseph Heim, Salon de 1824. Sa Majesté Charles X distribue des récompenses aux artistes, aquatint, 1830. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Estampes et de la Photographie.|
|Figure 6||Louis Hersent, Delphine Gay, oil on canvas, 92 × 72 cm, 1824. Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. Salon of 1824. Photograph: Gérard Blot. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. ← ix | x →|
|Figure 7||Louis Hersent, Sophie Gay, oil on canvas, 1824. Versailles, musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon. Photo: Christophe Fouin. © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY.|
|Figure 8||Jean-Pierre-Marie Jazet, after François-Joseph Heim, Salon de 1824. Sa Majesté Charles X distribue des récompenses aux artistes (detail), aquatint, 1830. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Estampes et de la Photographie.|
|Figure 9||Untitled depiction of the Academy, published in L’Artiste, 1st ser., 1 (1831), 52; ibid., 1st ser., 2 (1831), 100; ibid., 1st ser., 4 (1832), 118.|
|Figure 10||Honoré Daumier, Celebrrrre Jury de Peinture …, litograph, published in Le Charivari, 16 March 1840 (Paris: Aubert et Cie). Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.|
|Figure 11||Louis Léopold Robert, The Fishermen, 1834. Neuchâtel, Musée des Beaux-Arts. © Musée d’art et d’histoire.|
|Figure 12||Stefano Ussi, La cacciata del duca d’Atene, 1861. Florence, Galleria d’arte moderna di Palazzo Pitti. © Polo Museale Fiorentino.|
|Figure 13||Léon Bonnat, Job, oil on canvas, 161 × 129 cm, 1880. Bayonne, Musée Bonnat. Salon of 1880. Photograph V. Ducourau (bequeathed to the State by Bonnat for the Musée du Luxembourg; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bayonne, 1932).|
|Figure 14||Aimé-Nicolas Morot, Le Bon Samaritain, oil on canvas, 269 × 198 cm, 1880. Paris, musée du Petit Palais. Salon of 1880. Photograph: Vivian van Blerk.|
|Figure 15||Aimé-Nicolas Morot, Le Bon Samaritain (detail of leg), oil on canvas, 269 × 198 cm, 1880. Paris, musée du Petit Palais. Salon of 1880. Photograph: Vivian van Blerk. ← x | xi →|
|Figure 16||A. Grippart, ‘Nouveaux et heureux arrangements pour l’ouverture du Salon. La Vengeance poursuivant le crime’, black and white cartoon, Le Triboulet, No. 19, 9 May 1880, p. 9. Photograph by the author.|
|Figure 17||Installation of the Sculpture Garden at the Salon de 1864, Palais des Champs-Élysées, featuring sculpture acquired by the State including Combats de taureaux romains, in marble, by Jean Baptist Clesinger (centre), as photographed for Album de photographies du Salon de 1864. © Archives Nationales de France F21 7635.|
|Figure 18||G. Michelez, Vue générale du jardin : Milieu, photograph on albumenised paper, 1 May 1880. Installation of the Sculpture Garden at the Salon of 1880, Palais des Champs-Elysées. Album de photographies du Salon de 1880. Photograph: G. Michelez. © Archives Nationales de France F21 7650.|
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| 1 →
The twenty-three articles in this volume are a selection of the papers presented at the conference The Paris Fine Art Salon, 1791–1881, held in the University of Exeter on 4–6 September 2013. The conference had its origins in the research project entitled Painting for the Salon? The French State, Artists and Academy, 1830–1852, funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. My role on the project was to examine the state’s management of the Salon during this period, while Alister Mill researched the Salon’s role in the career strategies of the painters who submitted work to it, and Harriet Griffiths the Salon jury’s responses to this submitted work. The purpose of the conference was to situate findings of this research within the wider framework of the Salon’s modern, post-1789 phase.1 This phase began on 21 August 1791, when the French National Assembly, as part of its abolition of the corporations, transferred responsibility for the organisation of the Salon from the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture to a directorate of the département de Paris under the aegis of the Ministry of the Interior, and decreed that henceforth all artists, French and foreign, ← 1 | 2 → would be allowed to submit work for admission to an exhibition hitherto reserved for members of the Academy. It ended on 17 January 1881, when the French state, in the person of Edmond Turquet, sous-secrétaire d’État aux beaux-arts, acting on the advice of the Conseil supérieur des beaux-arts, announced that it had decided to hand over responsibility for the management of the Salon to a private association of artists.2
The response to our call for papers confirmed that our project was part of a wider-ranging and long-overdue engagement with the history of the Paris Salon. Named after the Salon carré in the Louvre, where it was held between 1725 and 1848, and revived as a regular event in 1737, it was for almost 150 years the most important regular exhibition of contemporary art in the world, yet there still exists no serious history of its post-1789 phase.3 For the early and late years of this period major studies include essential discussion of the Salon’s organisation, management and critical debates,4 hence the decision to focus in the research project on the period of the July Monarchy and Second Republic. To contain the project within manageable limits, it was also decided to focus specifically on the relationship at that time between the Salon’s two key partners, the State and the artists, and the interface between them presented by the Académie des Beaux-Arts. With the conference opened up to researchers working in the periods either side of the July Monarchy and Second Republic and with the pragmatic considerations of the research project no longer relevant, new work such as that on other major Salon partners ← 2 | 3 → (art critics, the Salon public) and on arts other than painting extends and complements in this volume the original project’s aims and objectives.
Léon Rosenthal, in his canonical study Du Romantisme au réalisme,5 presented the Salon as one of the material and social conditions in which painting operated during the July Monarchy (pp. 35–51), but, its many other merits notwithstanding, the way in which he did so set the pattern for much subsequent writing on the Salon. After initial comments on Louis-Philippe’s annualisation of the exhibition and on issues relating to its location in the Louvre, he devoted the rest of the chapter to a year-by-year overview of what he considered to be the most scandalous decisions of the Salon jury, itself characterised as ‘absurde et féroce’.6 His account was based not on the material relating to the jury sessions in the Louvre’s rich archive collection on the Salons of the period but on the press of the time, where, as he put it, ‘almost all the articles devoted to the Salon from 1833 to 1847 begin with a violent and justified attack on the Institute’ (39). Though he was aware of the tensions within the jury between conservative and more moderate academicians and those between academicians and the Orleanist regime, his account ignored the extent to which art journalists and critics during the July Monarchy had a vested interest in attacking the credibility of the academic jury and promoting themselves as the representatives of a more authentic jury of public opinion. On the contrary, it reinforced their view that the history of the Salon during that period was that of the persecution of artistic innovators by a reactionary corporation determined to retain control of the official exhibition. In her thesis Harriet Griffiths has shown how this partial account of the jury has been adopted uncritically by historians to the present day instead of being challenged by detailed analysis of the archival sources. ← 3 | 4 →
There is no disputing Rosenthal’s view that Louis-Philippe’s decision in early March 1831 to delegate the role of Salon jury to the members of the first four sections of the Académie des Beaux-Arts dashed hopes within the wider artistic community for a jury more representative of that community than the jury of the previous regime had been. However, by emphasising the jury issue at the expense of a broader account of the Salon’s legislative and management framework introduced by the July Monarchy, he provided an account of the exhibition’s complex conjuncture of political, artistic and administrative histories that was both authoritative and reductive. Before determining the composition of the jury, Louis-Philippe had already taken the fundamental decision to retain the management of the Salon within the attributions of the Civil List. As I try to show in my own article here, the decisions which followed this one failed to compensate for this missed opportunity to make the Salon subject to forms of accountability more in tune with the hopes and expectations of the artistic community in 1830. His announcement during the Salon’s closing ceremony of 15 August 1831 that the exhibition would henceforth be held annually was warmly applauded by the artists present but not before his announcement of the very small number of end-of-Salon awards that year had provoked significant rumbles of discontent. Louis-Philippe evidently remembered the discontent more than the applause for although, as Daniel Harkett shows (see below, pp. 73–92), the awards ceremony was designed to be the Salon’s spectacle of royal power, after August 1831 he never held it again.
Set the task of analysing the decisions taken by the Salon’s admissions jury between 1831 and 1852, Harriet Griffiths created a digital transcription of the three main Salon registers held at the Archives des Musées Nationaux (AMN), which were themselves in the process of being digitised by the French Ministry of the Interior’s Service des Bibliothèques, des Archives et de la Documentation Générale des Musées de France.7 ← 4 | 5 → With the transcription of this archival material as her starting-point, she produced an analysis of the jury and its decisions that challenges many of the myths established in the literature on the Salons of the July Monarchy. In a bid to establish the nature and extent of the artists’ engagement with the Salon during this period, Alister Mill worked with Harriet Griffiths to expand her database into the Database of Salon Artists (<salonartists.org>), aided by computer developer Tom Rosenbloom of the University of Exeter’s digital humanities research unit. The Database provides researchers with a searchable record of entries by every artist who submitted work to the Salon between 1827 and 1850, a total of more than 80,000 works by around 9,000 different artists. Drawing on information from the AMN’s three main sets of registers relating to Salon participation (the Register of Works, the Register of Artists and the Register of Jury Decisions), the database supplements these records with important biographical information not available in the original Salon registers.
Alister Mill’s article in this volume then presents an overview of how combining these records within a single database can allow for varied statistical analysis yielding new insights into the composition and behaviour of the Salon exhibitors. These cover a considerable range of areas, from the gender balance and average ages of Salon participants to strategies for maximising exposure by submitting multiple works; from the likelihood of rejection across different genres and livret categories to the unexpected dominance of the one-time entrant (42% of artists entered work to just a single Salon during this period). His analysis also touches both on the shifting numbers of foreign-born artists, hailing from at least sixty-five countries and independent states, as well as the somewhat neglected area of the provincial exhibition, such as those organised by various ‘Sociétés des Amis des Arts’, which both complemented and challenged the Salon’s dominance in the France of the July Monarchy. ← 5 | 6 →
The volume opens with Richard Wrigley on the threshold of the Salon, the real and symbolic border zone between street and museum, public space and the space of art, a neutral area in which the Salon visitor was invited to set aside inappropriate accoutrements and comportments in order to assume a frame of mind appropriate to the contemplation of fine art. As we see, changes to the forms of this invitation were signs of a changing public or of changing official attitudes to that public. In 1830 the virtues of the Salon visit did not yet include, at least not officially, the commitment to consumerism and fashion on the part of the emblematic July Monarchy flâneur but by then the conflict between the nineteenth-century Salon’s two major roles – showcase of the international supremacy of French art versus shop window on an evolving art market – was beginning to exercise artists, critics and the state’s art administrators.
Forty years before the first Salon of the July Monarchy, the decision of the National Assembly to end the Academy’s monopoly of access ensured that more than twice the number of exhibiting artists crossed the Salon threshold in 1791 than had done for the previous Salon of 1789. Two papers in the volume show in embryonic form the parallel emergence of the showcase/shop window opposition between new private and public forms of art patronage. Sarah Bakkali explains how painter-dealers seized the new opportunity to present their own work in the Salon in a bid to increase the volume, profile and status of their dealer activities and make potentially useful contacts in the arts administration. They also featured among the new and more socially diverse generation of owners identified in the Salon livret and whose family, social and professional networks were of crucial importance to artists during a period of political upheaval when the traditional patronage of aristocracy and church was no longer available. While these new types of network, bringing artists, dealers, collectors and administrators into closer relationships, were strengthening the Salon’s links to an emerging art market, the political regimes that succeeded one another in the wake of 1789 sought to establish forms of public support for the arts and to determine the place of the Salon in this strategy. Susan Siegfried traces the major stages of the complex history of public patronage of the arts between the revolutionary phase of 1793–95 and the centralised imperial system imposed ten years later, the outcome of which was that the ← 6 | 7 → Salon became the essential agency for the distribution of state patronage via commissions, prizes and purchases and, as such, the site of the contentious issues that this patronage provoked.
Though the Salons of the Napoleonic period are most frequently associated with an official arts policy of commissioned work designed to enhance the imperial legend, they also made a significant contribution to the longer-term growth of the Salon and its public.8 The increased freedom of the press which followed the fall of the Empire gave more scope for the Salon to develop as a site for public debate on the arts. A generation of artists born at or close to the turn of the century brought vital energy and creativity to the cultural ferment of the 1820s.9 In this they were supported by Auguste de Forbin, Director of the Royal Museums from June 1816, who used his position as head of the arts administration to advance the cause, not only of Ingres as David’s successor as leader of the neoclassical tendency, but also that of the new generation of Romantic artists, who increasingly saw the Salon as a more accessible route to professional success than the narrower academic path of competitions and prizes.10 Two articles in this volume illustrate the widening range of cultural and artistic issues in which the Salon was involved by the time of the later Restoration. Daniel Harkett follows the fortune of Hersent’s portraits of Sophie and Delphine Gay, mother and daughter, as models of the Salon’s elite sociability represented in Heim’s famous representation of its closing ceremony, Charles X distribuant des récompenses aux artistes exposants au Salon de 1824 au Louvre, le 15 janvier 1825, itself shown in the Salon of 1827. Eva Bouillo analyses the significance of a ‘face à face entre le Salon de l’opposition et le Salon officiel en 1827’, the oppositional Salon being the exhibition in December 1827 in ← 7 | 8 → the enterprising Lebrun gallery of work rejected that year by the official Salon’s jury. Based on the English model of private exhibitions, funded by visitors’ entrance fees, this ‘counter-exhibition’ was, for those artists who participated, largely unsuccessful but it played its part in a discussion emerging by that time in the public sphere and in which the viability of the existing French model of state funding of the arts was beginning to be called into question.11 The issue re-emerged in the review of the Salon of 1831 by Delécluze, for whom the huge increase in the number of works on show that year (3211), compared with 1827 (1834), led him to speculate on whether it would be more advantageous for both art and the state if, like every other industry, the arts had to rely on their own resources.12
As one of the tenor voices of conservative opinion in the Journal des débats for forty years from 1822, Delécluze is the subject of the first of two articles devoted to the art critics of the July Monarchy. Aurélie Gavoille presents an overview of the sort of issues – organisation of the Salon, painting’s domination of the exhibition at the expense of architecture and sculpture, the most noble arts of the classical hierarchy, the shortcomings of competitions as a means of commissioning artwork, the role of art education – on which Delécluze exercised his Davidian sympathies. Christophe Longbois-Canil reviews a wider range of critical responses within the narrower timeframe of 1843–44 to uncover key critical trends as the Salon approached the mid-century: the incoherence of the jury, the acceleration of production, the subjection of art to the materialist and commercial pressures of modern society.
The Salons of the July Monarchy also figured largely in the career of Sophie Rude, whose efforts to emerge from the shadow of her husband, the sculptor François Rude, and negotiate her own career during this period by painting historical and religious subjects considered to be the preserve ← 8 | 9 → of the male artists are the subject of Vera Klewitz’s study. Faced with the largely patronising responses to her work on the part of male critics Rude turned to submitting portraits, using the Salon as a means to advertise her work for the growing private market in portraiture.
With the collapse of the July Monarchy in February 1848, the Second Republic lost no time in addressing the pent-up demand for change to the legislative framework within which the Salon had operated under the Orleanist regime. In its decree of 7 April that year the attributions of the July Monarchy’s Civil List, annexed by the provisional government on 24 February, were re-distributed within a system of three new directorates, which replaced the unified administration of the fine arts established by Napoleon in 1802. In the new structure the first directorate became responsible for the national museums and former royal residences, the second for the contemporary fine arts, the third for literature and theatre. The Salon in the second directorate was now separated from its location, the Louvre, in the first, and the new director of the national museums, Philippe-Auguste Jeanron, had a legal framework within which to put an end to the annual disruption caused to the Louvre’s core business by the Salon’s occupation of the same galleries as those which housed the museum’s permanent Old Master collections.13 Arnaud Bertinet provides here the first precise and detailed account of the Salon’s history following its departure, initially only provisional, from the Louvre, and of its place in the new regime’s plans for the museum’s renovation during the period between Louis-Napoleon’s election on 10 December 1848 as president of the republic and his decision of 27 March 1852 to create the Palais de l’Industrie as a national exhibition centre for industry and the arts, and a permanent home for the Salon.
During the July Monarchy the Salon’s international prestige had grown as Paris secured its position above rival European centres as the capital of ← 9 | 10 → contemporary art.14 With Napoleon III’s decision in June 1853 to hold a Universal Exhibition in Paris two years later incorporating, unlike that of Crystal Palace in 1851, an exhibition of the work of living artists, a form of Salon of 1855 but with regulations modified to allow, exceptionally, the retrospective exhibition of work shown in earlier Salons, French art’s hegemony in the international arena, and with it the status of the Salon, was reinforced.15 Four articles in this volume address this issue of the Salon’s international dimension. Laurent Cazes shows that in the age of Universal Exhibitions the long-established presence of foreign artists in the Salon acquired enhanced significance as a statement of the universality of French art, as an instrument of Second Empire foreign policy, and as a crossroads in artistic careers of more hybrid nationality in an increasingly international art market. Elena Granuzzo traces, with particular reference to the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, the difficult relationship between Italian and French artists and art critics in two political and artistic cultures at different stages of their development. Jana Wijnsouw shows the issues Belgian sculptors faced in their efforts to launch or cement their careers by exhibiting in the Paris Salon, and Parisian perceptions and misapprehensions of a national Belgian art. Isabel Valverde explains the reasons for which, in an effort to halt what was felt to be the decline of the Spanish national school of painting, the founders of the Exposiciones Nacionales de Bellas Artes in Madrid sought explicitly to establish the Paris Salon as the model for their own initiative. The failure to establish a parallel private market for art alongside the state-sponsored exhibition as was the case in ← 10 | 11 → France ensured that the same official exhibition model did not produce the same economic and cultural benefits for Spanish artists.
Already in the 1970s Jon Whiteley was demonstrating in his Subject Index to Paintings Exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1673–1881 what could be achieved by bringing rigorous quantitative analysis to bear on the data available in the Salon livrets. Here he presents the issues and difficulties involved in seeking to quantify with statistical precision the taste for literary subjects and follows the evolution of taste beginning with the classics and forward to the moderns. We discover inter alia that literary art in the nineteenth-century Salon was dominated by the work of contemporary non-French authors, that the so-called Classics (the pupils of David and the winners of the Prix de Rome) turned away from the classical subjects more completely than the Romantics, who largely defied the change in taste by exhibiting subjects taken from ancient history and literature in the late 1830s and 1840s, another example of careful data analysis undermining entrenched but unverified assumptions.
Using Whiteley’s Subject Index to create a digitised dataset on a very specific subject group and over a shorter timeframe, Diana Seave Greenwald analyses the development of rural imagery in the Salon from the July Monarchy to the first decade of the Third Republic in order to set developments in this area against information about the social and economic development of France during the same time period. To demonstrate the limited basis of the accounts by T.J. Clark and Robert Herbert of the causal relationship between the two, she draws on the practices of statistical analysis in highlighting three major flaws in current art historical methods of tracing and testing social and economic causation in the art world and proposes forms of quantitative analysis designed to refine and improve these methods.
- XVI, 518
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- Publication date
- 2015 (July)
- Salon de peinture paris art salon history of art French nineteenth-century studies French art history database of salon artists nineteenth-century art history
- Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2015. XVI, 518 pp., 24 b/w ill.