Salon de 1868

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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 4,213 entries in the livret that were selected by a reformulated committee (again) who were expectedly more liberal. Artists needed only to have exhibited at a previous Salon. Artists now elected/selected two-thirds of the jury.  

Grand medals of honor were awarded to Gustave Brion for his lost Greuze-inspired painting of a family Bible reading (print after above) and Alexandre Falguière for a sculpture of an early Christian martyr (below; 
Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
The perspectives of two critics are featured in the collage. Émile Zola’s review of the Salon all but ignored/dismissed most of the works and focused on the modernists (naturalistes and actualistes in his words), especially Manet and the younger generation. Monet’s port scene was destroyed and included here is a caricature print of it, along with a painting of a harbor jetty that was refused by the jury.  

Zola did not mention future Impressionist Alfred Sisley who exhibited a forest scene (below; Southhampton City Art Gallery). When the exhibition was rearranged mid-way through the Salon in order to prominently display the works of medal winners and government purchases, Renoir, Bazille, and Monet’s paintings were moved to an out of the way gallery, known as the dépotoir or rubbish dump.
Théophile Thoré, writing as Thoré-Bürger, was older and had been reviewing Salons since 1835. He died in 1869. Thoré began his review with an overview of paintings that were particularly worthy of note.  As a champion of Delacroix and Romanticism, his selection was more conservative/traditional. He included both of Gérome’s 'academic' paintings in his overview.  

However, Zola and Thoré were in agreement when they included and praised Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot.

Zola was focused on the modern/present while Thoré’s expanded view included history/the past. Thoré also preferred works that were more finished/detailed than Zola who appreciated the 'truth’ and ‘originality’ of the newer modern approach.