To Salon or not Salon_This famous painting ‘Le studio de l’artiste’ by Courbet was rejected by the French Government, as were many of his paintings. Courbet never won the prestigious Prix de Rome. He along with Corot and Millet are considered the founding fathers of Realism. We all remember their names but we remember very few of the names of the Prix de Rome winners,
This painting the Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel garnered much acclaim at the 1863 Salon and was purchased by Napolean the Third.
The Wave by William Bouguereau was painted in 1896 some things never change, Bouguereau was the Prix de Rome Winner is 1850 with his painting Zenobia Found by Shepherds on the Banks of the Araxes pictured below.
The latter half of the 19th saw a heightened decadence in the Official Paris Salon. A much tighter reign of the Official Rules and Acceptable style which seems to very much coincide with the manner in which Bouguereau worked. If one had any hopes of winning the coveted Prix de Rome they needed to emulate past winners like Bouguereau. There are dozens of Realists, Impressionists and Post Impressionist Painters that are more famous than 99% of the Prix de Rome winners: Eugene Delacroix, Honore Daumier, Theodore Rousseau, Jean-Francois Millet, Charles-Francois Daubigny, Gustave Courbet, Johan Jongkind, Rosa Bonheur, Jean-Leon Gerome, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Camille Pissarro, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Henri Fantin-Latour to name but a few.
Prix de Rome Winners 1845 to 1875
Above is a selection of paintings by Prix de Rome winners from 1945-1975. We posted these to show what was going on when the rest of the world rejected the tyranny of the Government-run France Academic System and walked away. Many of these guys (yes, they are all guys) do not even have a Wiki page, and very few of them have a hi-res image of their Prix de Rome winning Painting. In all fairness, many of these painters did some outstanding paintings during their careers. Most of their names, however, have long been forgotten. Some painters, such as Bouguereau, have found their way back into museums. Next time you visit Bouguereau and his peers, you will notice that part of the museum is virtually empty compared to the Old Masters and the Impressionists. That is because nobody cares about that genre of work. What it displays in terms of skill it lacks in terms of authenticity, integrity, sincerity, and identity.
In 1863, so many paintings had been rejected by the Salon selection jury and so many artists protested, that Emperor Napoleon III ordered a new exhibition to be organized – dubbed the “Salon des Refusés” – in order to display all the paintings and sculptures that had been refused admission to the Salon, so as to allow the public to judge the merits of these works for themselves.
The French Academy of the Third Empire under Napolean the Third seems like a tawdry little group with sacred oaths, pinky rings, and secret handshakes. The mythological and historical themes they selected do not speak well for the character.
Here is what was happening while the Academy was paying homage to Bouguereau and their ilk.
These paintings have authenticity, integrity, sincerity, and identity. If your paintings look like everybody else and do not have an identity of their own success will not be forthcoming.
ARC_The Art Renewal Center recently revived the 19thc model of the Academic Salon.
They even borrowed their leader William Adoph Bouguereau of flying Putti and Frolicking Nymph fame.
Salons and Exhibitions are seductive mistresses promising fame and fortune and in ARCs case membership to an exclusive club, and a chance of becoming a Living Master. Membership, however, comes at a cost, especially if you want to win the big prize. The price of admission is the same as it was in the mid-19thc Salon you have to paint like Bouguereau.
To Salon Or Not Salon_Assume Their Identity Or Find Your Own_Join The Club Or Go It On Your Alone_Conform Or Create_We Know Our Answer.