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annual exhibition of art works chosen by jury and presented by the French Academy since 1737; it was originally held in the Salon d'Apollon of the Louvre. By the mid-19th cent. the Salon had become an expression of conservative, established tastes in art. Until 1863 it was the only major public art exhibition held in Paris. That year the Salon des Réfusés was organized in protest by artists whose works were rejected by the Salon jury. See academies of artacademies of art,
official organizations of established artists. Lorenzo de' Medici's informal circle of great artists and thinkers was modeled on similar groups formed in classical Greece.
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See R. King, The Judgment of Paris (2006).


French word for a formal room in which exhibitions of art were held.



the name given to periodic exhibitions of contemporary art in France.

Officially sponsored exhibitions of contemporary art have been organized in Paris since the 17th century. Beginning in 1699 they were held in the Louvre, at first in the Grande Galerie and from 1737 to 1848 in the Salon d’Apollon. Officially sponsored salons have also been held at the Grand Palais on the Champs Elysées. Since the mid-18th century salons have been held on a regular basis. Annual exhibitions were held in the late 18th century, and the custom was resumed in 1863.

Prior to the Great French Revolution only members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture took part in salons. The revolution opened the salons to all artists. However, beginning with Napoleon I’s empire (1804–15), salon juries systematically supported uninspired academic art, often aimed at philis-tine tastes (seeSALON ART). The works of progressive masters were frequently rejected by the juries. Nevertheless, a number of progressive painters did gain entry into the salons, thus transforming the salons of 1819, 1824, 1831, and 1850 into arenas of struggle between advanced and official academic trends. Artists often reacted to the jury’s policies by setting up independent exhibitions, for example, G. Courbet’s Realism Exhibition (1855) and the Salon des Refusés (1863)—an exhibition of future impressionists. In 1881 the salons ceased to be state-sponsored events and were transferred to the administration of the Society of French Artists, which, from that time on, has arranged the annual Spring Salon.

Critical reviews of the salons have been written since the 18 th century by many critics, writers, and thinkers (Diderot, Stendhal, Heine, Gautier, and Zola).

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries new, avant-garde salons were organized. Examples include the Salon of the Independents, the Autumn Salon, and the Tuilleries Salon. Exhibitions in other countries have also been called salons, for example, the salons of the Golden Fleece in Russia (1908, 1909–10).


1. A room used primarily for exhibition of art objects.
2. A drawing room.
3. A small, stylish place of business.


1. a commercial establishment in which hairdressers, beauticians, etc., carry on their businesses
a. a hall for exhibiting works of art
b. such an exhibition, esp one showing the work of living artists
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