A session of the painting jury

A session of the painting jury

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Title: A session of the painting jury at the Salon des Artistes français.

Author : GERVEX Henri (1852 - 1929)

Creation date : 1885

Date shown: 1885

Dimensions: Height 299 - Width 149

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage place: Orsay Museum website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - C. Jean website

Picture reference: 86EE1546 / RF 726

A session of the painting jury at the Salon des Artistes français.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - C. Jean

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Regular exhibitions of works by living artists had been included in the statutes of the Academy of Fine Arts from its inception in 1648, but they remained very episodic until well into the following century. Faced with this permanent contestation, the state, which had always supported the demonstration, in 1879 asked artists to come together in society and organize themselves without any state participation; thus the Society of French Artists was born.

Image Analysis

Since the Salon of 1880, artists themselves elected the colleagues they wished to have pronounced on the admission or refusal of works. If they are all identified, the thirty-one jurors that Gervex represented in a room of the Palais des Champs-Elysées, gesturing in front of the paintings to be examined, were never chosen at the same time; so we are here more in front of an artistic tribute with a strong realistic connotation rather than in front of a stormy genre scene. If we can recognize there fervent guardians of tradition, portrait painters such as Bonnat or Carolus-Duran, lovers of mythology and history like Bouguereau, Cabanel or Jean-Paul Laurens, we also meet supporters of the renewal of the landscape. , like French, Harpignies or Cazin, and a few strong individuals who will soon shake up this exhibition system. With his self-portrait and the portraits of Puvis de Chavannes or Roll, in the group of seven people depicted to the left of the door, Gervex introduced the representation of a number of future dissidents.


Despite the reform of the status of exhibitions and although the artists now decided among themselves who was authorized to judge works, the protest against the excluded did not cease. Thus, in the spring of the previous year, various rejected artists, including a number of supporters of neo-impressionism (Cross, Seurat, Signac, etc.) formed themselves into an independent group, then, in winter, into an artistic society under the name of Society of Independent Artists. Trumpeting its motto, "An exhibition without jury or reward", this group of artists began the work of undermining which would soon succumb to the oldest French artistic institution. In 1890, led by Meissonier and Puvis de Chavannes, a split would result in the creation of the National Society of Fine Arts, soon followed by the creation of a multitude of other new specialist and generalist salons. The Salon had lived.

  • Acadamy of Arts
  • painters
  • realism
  • living room
  • Puvis de Chavannes (Pierre)


Gaïté DUGNAT, The Salons of the National Society of Fine Arts, Paris, L’Echelle de Jacob, vol. 1, 2000, vol. 2, 2001. Gérard Georges LEMAIRE, Sketch for a history of the Salon: from Diderot to Apollinaire, Paris, H. Veyrier, 1986 Dominique LOBSTEIN, Gaïté DUGNAT, Dictionary of the Salon des Artistes Indépendants, Paris, L’Echelle de Jacob, 2001.

To cite this article

Dominique LOBSTEIN, "A painting jury session"


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