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The Paris Fine Art Salon/Le Salon, 1791–1881


James Kearns and Alister Mill

Following on from « Ce Salon à quoi tout se ramène »: Le Salon de peinture et de sculpture, 1791–1890, published in 2010 as an earlier volume in this series, this volume contains a selection of the papers given at the first major international conference to be held on the post-1789 Paris Fine Art Salon. Hosted by the University of Exeter in 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 in 2010–2012 by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, and its purpose was to situate findings of this research within the wider framework of the Salon’s nineteenth-century history. In this collection of twenty-three papers, fourteen in English, nine in French, established and new scholars of French art history examine the national and international artistic, political and cultural dimensions of the most important regular exhibition of contemporary art in the nineteenth-century world.
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III. The Academy and the Salon Jury, 1831–1848


In commencing an extended period of research on the Salon jury and the history of that institution under the July Monarchy and Second Republic, it soon became apparent that the traditional representation of the jury based on limited press accounts which highlighted controversial rejections failed to provide the full story.1 A primary reason why this simplistic reading of the Salon jury prevailed was due to misunderstandings concerning its composition. In this paper I shall focus on an area of my research that encourages a re-evaluation of our understanding of the composition of the jury and of the nature of the Salon under the July Monarchy. I will also address the preconception – widely held both at the time and continually ever since – that the Salon jury embodied an intransigent and self-serving Academy.

As is well known, the role of jury of the Salon under the July Monarchy was delegated by Louis-Philippe in 1831 to the first four sections of the Academy and retained by them for the duration of the July Monarchy. A member of the Academy at that time was stereotypically depicted as extremely old and dogmatic, since membership of the Academy was held for life. By 1831, the Academy was seen by some as an inflexible and conservative institution and as the artistic community had widened, and particularly as the romantic style had developed beyond its walls in the 1820s, ← 181 | 182 → it was no longer considered representative of all French artists.2 The jury’s well-chronicled...

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