Salon de 1865

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Below are photographs from the Archives nationales (Paris) of works acquired by the government. See here for more information.

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There were 3,559 entries in the livret and no exhibition of works that were refused by the jury.  The critic Théophile Gautier served on that selection committee and was appointed by the government.

Manet’s Olympia and Christ Mocked by the Soldiers (below; Art Institute of Chicago) were the talk of the Salon.  The socialist writer and art critic Alfred Sensier was one of the few to find merit in the Olympia and guards were required to protect the painting of a prostitute from physical damage by outraged viewers.
Grand medals were awarded to Cabanel for his portrait of the emperor and to the sculptor Paul Dubois. In addition, thirty-seven painters and fourteen sculptors received medals of lesser stature. All awards were also monetary.   

The remainder of the collage is loosely structured around clusters of works characteristic of Orientalism (Fromentin and Gérome); the academic/idealized nude (Puvis de Chavannes, Henner, and Moreau); Realism/Naturalism (Courbet, Fantin La Tour, Ribot, Vollon, and Bonvin); historical genre themes (Meissonier and Bougureau); and the growing popularity of representations of beautifully/fashionably dressed women (Tissot, Whistler, and Alma-Tadema).  Some works could fit into more than one cluster. Set apart are paintings, mostly landscapes, by the future Impressionists (Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Morisot), along with Boudin and Jongkind who inspired the plein-air landscape tradition.   

Fantin’s Le Toast was poorly received by critics and destroyed by the artist. Included here is a preliminary drawing.  The painting was intended to champion truth to nature/realism with a female nude holding a mirror amidst portraits of contemporary Realist artists such as Whistler, Fantin, and Vollon.   

Whistler was at the forefront of an emerging taste for Asian art and culture known as Japonisme.

Bouguereau staged his homeless/poor peasant family against the portico of the Church of Madeleine in Paris with Michelangelo’s Conservator Palace in Rome in the distance.