Salon - paris salons

DEFINITION

A word generally descriptive of a fashionable gathering of artists, writers and intellectuals held in a private home. The term is linked to Paris, France where Salons began as state-sponsored exhibitions of conservative academic art juried by government appointees. The early Salons were controlled by the Academy of Fine Arts, but the term???s meaning expanded to included a variety of both official and dissident organizations. Being asked to participate in these Salons was a special mark of prestige for American artists, who, following the Civil War, began going to Paris in large numbers. The Salons placed their work in "a high level and fully international context." (Weinburg 23) The Salon critieria also set international standards for painting and led American taste to switch their preferences from English to French fine art. Salon exhibitions originated in the 17th century with members of the Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Installation was at the Salon Carre of the Louvre with permission of King Louis XIV (1643-1715). In the 19th century, these exhibits grew too large for the Salon Carre, but continued to be named after the venue. Before 1834, the Salons were biennial, but then became annuals sponsored by the French government. In 1881 control was transferred to the Societe des Artistes Francais. In 1890, the French government organized a new Salon on the Champs Elysses under the auspices of the Societe Nationale Des Beaux-Arts. Its exhibitions were held in the spring at the same time as that of the Society des Artists Francais. Among 18th and 19th century American artists studying in Paris who exhibited at the Salons were John Vanderlyn, George Healy, Oliver Frazer, Christian Schussele, Marie-Francois-Regis Gignoux, Thomas Hicks, John LeFarge and Edward Harrison May. Sources: Barbara Weinberg, "The Lure of Paris"; ArtLex.com, courtesy of Michael Delahunt (See Glossary for Societe des Beaux-Arts and Societe des Artistes Francais)

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