A REMARKABLE HISTORY
In 1667, according to the wishes of Louis XIV, the Royal Academy organized an exhibition of its members’ work at the Louvre.
The Société des Artistes Français (Society of French Artists) is the direct heir of this Salon created by Colbert for the King, and has lasted down through the years: in times of royalty, empires, revolutions, and wars, attracting some of the greatest artists who have influenced the history of art in the last few centuries. Delacroix, Ingres, Manet, Rodin, Claudel, Bartholdi, Dufy and Picabia, amongst others, were all members of the Société.
In 1881, the Société adopted its current name: the Société des Artistes Français. The State entrusted it with the privilege of organizing an annual exhibition of the fine arts and made the Société a wholly autonomous organization.
In 1883, a decree published in the official journal declared the Société to be of ‘public utility’.
The glass roof of the Grand Palais, H. Deglane, registered architectSince 1901, every year, except for some interruptions due to wars or reconstruction work, the Salon has been held at the Grand Palais on the Champs-Élysées, in Paris.
Today, the Société des Artistes Français boasts several hundred members. The latter are joined every year by large numbers of exhibitors for the legendary Salon.
Painters, sculptors, architects, engravers, both renowned and lesser-known, have participated in its organization and honoured its walls with their creations.
Our archives bear witness to the names that have punctuated the history of the Salon up to the present day. The Salon, at once admired and criticized in France, but respected abroad, has played and continues to play an important role in the French arts scene.
Under the prestigious glass roof of the Grand Palais in Paris, the Société des Artistes Français is open to both French and international artists, and presents over 650 international artists every year, selected by a jury that is renewed regularly, and tasked with the selection of artists, as well as the awarding of prizes and medals.
All of the artists exhibit their work directly to the public, without any intermediaries, away from the commercial channels of the art world.
The Salon: The Birthplace of Art Criticism
The Enlightenment philosopher and encyclopaedist Denis Diderot was the first to comment on the artworks of artists at the ‘Salon’. Many other art critics followed his example, creating a new genre of reporting.
Heinrich Heine, Eugène Fromentin and notably Charles Baudelaire have all graced our Salons, commenting on the efforts of the artists on display within, and criticizing some of them in articles characterized by their great talent, wit and sagacity.
Fuelled by passion and creativity, spontaneous, dynamic and enthusiastic, the artists of the Société des Artistes Français today reflect the various trends of contemporary art.
Delaleuf, présidente ©Afsaneh AFKHAMI
Today the ‘Salon’ continues its existence, inspired by its remarkable past and bearing witness to the initiatives, trends and movements that influence the current art world and contemporary artists.
Since 2006, the Salon des Artistes Français has returned to its former exhibition space at the Grand Palais, following years of renovation work, and is now programmed as part of the Art Capital event.
This arts event brings together the ‘historic salons’ that have withstood the test of time and trends, and which allow a platform for the expression of contemporary creation today.
Every year, 2,500 artists exhibit their work to a large public, showcasing the various trends of current art, outside of the market’s commercial channels.
Présidente de la Société des ARTISTES FRANÇAIS