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

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Edited By 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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Shifting Institutional Practices during the Second Empire: The Salon Lottery of 1859

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An unusual event occurred during the Salon of 1859 when a committee organised and sanctioned by the state mounted a lottery of works of art within the government-run exhibition. My essay investigates the elaboration and meaning of this new enterprise. I will examine how and why a lottery came into being in 1859 and its significance for our understanding of Salon exhibitions, particularly during the Second Empire (1852–70). In the spring of 1859, the Salon became a public event in unprecedented ways as citizens had an opportunity to interact with the exhibition in a manner that had not previously been possible – they could buy lottery tickets for what evolved into a draw for over 125 artworks. The response was such that a broader cross-section of French citizens engaged with the visual arts than had occurred to date, including artists, members of the press, citizens in Paris and the provinces, people outside France, and many of the state employees and ministers responsible for organising the Salons. The lottery of 1859 is significant, I will argue, because it suggests how developments in democratic practices intersected with the visual arts during the 1850s and 1860s, and thus offers us new perspectives that challenge dominant views of the period.

The Salon of 1859 took place during the first decade of the Second Empire when the exhibitions were held biennially; with 3,483 works listed in the catalogue, it was around 10% larger than the previous exhibition of 1857.1 It...

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