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Salon des Refusés


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Exhibition held in Paris in 1863 to show work that had been refused by the selection committee of the official Salon. In that year there were particularly strong protests from artists whose work had been rejected, so the emperor Napoleon III, ‘wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints’, ordered this special exhibition. It drew huge crowds, who came mainly to mock, and Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe was subjected to particular ridicule. Other major artists represented included Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, and Whistler. In spite of the unfavourable reaction to the works shown there, the Salon des Refusés was of great significance in undermining the prestige of the official Salon. After this, artists began to organize their own exhibitions (notably the Impressionists in 1874) and art dealers became of increasing importance. The Salon des Refusés is thus regarded as a turning point in the history of art and 1863 has been described as ‘the most convenient date from which to begin any history of modern painting’ (Alan Bowness, Modern European Art, 1972).

Subjects: Art.


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