Saturday, July 25, 2009

SLon: Salon des Refusés

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe by Édouard Manet

In preparation for the Beyond Casual SLon des Refuses being organized by digital curator MonCherrie Afterthought with Mab MacMoragh, to be composed of artists nominated in the wiki for Best of Brooklyn is Watching Year 1 but not voted into 30 Best (link), Soup offers the following explanation for the spirit of the show:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Salon des Refusés, French for “exhibition of rejects”, is generally an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon, but the term is most famously used to refer to the Salon des Refusés of 1863.

It should be taken into account that during this time, Paris was a breeding ground for artist of all forms, poets, artists, sculptors, etc. Paris was the place to be, and the capital of the art world, any artist that wanted to be recognized, at that time, was required to have exhibited in a Salon, or gone to school in France. Being accepted into these Salons was a matter of survival for some artist; reputations and careers could be started or broken, based solely on the acceptance into these exhibits.

As early as the 1830’s, Paris art galleries had mounted small-scale, private exhibitions of works rejected by the Salon jurors. The clamorous event of 1863 was actually sponsored by the French government. In that year, artists protested the Salon jury’s rejection of more than 3,000 works, far more than usual. "Wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints," said an official notice, Emperor Napoléon III decreed that the rejected artists could exhibit their works in an annex to the regular Salon. Many critics and the public ridiculed the refusés, which included such now-famous paintings as Édouard Manet's Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) and James McNeill Whistler's Girl in White. But the critical attention also legitimized the emerging avant-garde in painting. Encouraged by Manet, the Impressionists successfully exhibited their works outside the Salon beginning in 1874. Subsequent Salons des Refusés were mounted in Paris in 1874, 1875, and 1886, by which time the prestige and influence of the Paris Salon had waned.

Émile Zola incorporated a fictionalized account of the 1863 scandal in his novel L'Oeuvre (The Masterpiece) (1886).

Today by extension, salon des refusés refers to any exhibition of works rejected from a juried art show.

For information as to the progress of the juried show, see the official Brooklyn is Watching blog (link)

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