5/ Famous Artists
Little did Colbert know that when he was asked by Louis XIV to create an exhibition showcasing the best of France’s artists that he would influence the savoir faire of today’s salons and art fairs.
The Société des Artistes Français 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. The Salon has exhibited some of the world’s most famous artists including:
Société des Artistes Français Archive LE BRUN, DE LA TOUR, POUSSIN, CHARDIN, WATTEAU, BOUCHER, FRAGONARD, DAVID, INGRES, BOUGUEREAU, CABANEL, MEISSONNIER, GERICAULT, DELACROIX, GROS, PRUD’HON, COURBET, MILLET, PUVIS DE CHAVANNES, …
The Grand Palais
The exhibition of 1900 was intended as an ode to art.
Given the scope and ambition of the project, it was therefore decided to construct a permanent structure.
An architectural competition for the design of the structure was launched on 9 August 1894.
2/ The Competition
The competition was for the design of the two palaces: the Grand and the Petit Palais, although applicants had the choice of designing only one of the two, if they so wished.
‘It is preferable to avoid overly dense or compact constructions and the edifice should blend into its surroundings (a green space should surround the Palaces).’
A first setback delayed construction by 8 months: the terrain where the southern part of the Grand Palais structure was to be built was unstable. On this spot, there was evidence of, and damage by past flooding from the Ménilmontant Stream, which had also caused problems for the construction of Charles Garnier’s opera house. Interestingly, the latter was also a member of the Société des Artistes Français.