Salon de Refusés


Originally the name of the official art exhibitions organised by the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture) and its successor the Académie des Beaux Arts (Academy of Fine Arts). From 1725 the exhibitions were held in the room called the Salon carré in the Louvre and became known simply as the Salon. This later gave rise to the generic French term of 'salon' for any large mixed art exhibition. By the mid nineteenth century the academies had become highly conservative, and by their monopoly of major exhibitions resisted the rising tide of innovation in Naturalism, Realism, Impressionism and their successors. By about 1860 the number of artists being excluded from the official Salon became so great and such a scandal that in 1863 the government was forced to set up an alternative, to accommodate the refused artists. This became known as the "Salon de Refusés". The show's major sensations were two paintings by Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883), each considered scandalous -- Luncheon on the Grass (Déjeuner sur l'herbe), for portraying nude and clothed figures together in a scene of everyday life, and Olympia, for portraying a nude prostitute, whose form was not typical of those considered ideal. Other exhibitors were Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903), and James A. M. Whistler (American, 1834-1903). Three further Salons des refusés were held in 1874, 1875 and 1886.