About the Database of Salon Artists
The Database of Salon Artists provides a searchable record of all entries to the Salon for the period 1827–1850, a total of over 80,000 works submitted for exhibition by some 9,000 different artists.The database draws information from the three main sets of registers relating to Salon participation, located in the Archives des Musées Nationaux in the Louvre – the Register of Works, the Register of Artists and the Register of Jury Decisions. It then supplements these records with important biographical information, acquired from a range of sources, not available in the original Salon registers.
You can refine the results of your search using the search tools and drop-down filters provided.
For comments or corrections, or for queries about exceeding the scope of the non-commercial Creative Commons licence, please contact: salonartists[at]outlook.com
Register of Works (Registre des ouvrages)
The information contained in this register can be accessed via the ‘Works’ section of this database.
Each work submitted to the Salon was allocated a registration number by the Salon administration in the order in which it was received by the artist or their representative. The Register of Works also carried the artist’s name, and the title and dimensions of their entry. Once each work had been viewed by the jury, the ledgers were then annotated with the jury’s decision using the abbreviation ‘O’ (accepted) and ‘X’ (rejected). These decisions are recorded in Decision column as ‘Admis’ or ‘Refusé’.
Clicking on the bar above the entry for each work brings you to the 'Work details' page, which features a facsimile of the relevant page in the Register of Works (the reference code you will see here – e.g. KK24/25 for the year 1827– relates the facsimile image to the archive catalogue reference of the original register held in the Archives des Musées Nationaux). To find the title and dimensions of the work, simply locate the row with your chosen registration number in the leftmost column of the facsimile Register page - that row contains details solely for the work in question. Full pdfs of all the Salon registers are available to download from the website of the Archives des Musées Nationaux, which also features a more detailed guide to the various Salon registers in English and French.
Register of Artists (Registre des artistes)
The information contained in this register can be accessed via the ‘Artists’ section of this database.
The Register of Artists is an alphabetic record of all the artists entering works for the Salon in a particular year. They include the artist’s address and are cross-referenced with the Register of Works via the work registration numbers. Also recorded is the livret catalogue to which the works belong, along with – from 1843 – the artist’s place and date of birth, and their teaching master or place of artistic training. These registers provided the basis of the biographical details shown in the database, although we have also supplemented these with information from other sources so they cover artists submitting in all twenty years covered in the database. We have also standardised names to account for different spellings or changes of names (e.g. maiden/married names for female artists) and have made clearer the distinctions between artists with similar names. The artist pages on the database will also show you if an artist received a first or second class medal during this period.
Register of Jury Decisions (Registre des procès-verbaux des décisions du Jury)
These record the individual judging sessions (séances) undertaken by the Salon jury. They record the type of work (and, from 1840, the painting genre), the jury decision and, where the decision was not unanimous, the number of votes for or against. This register is lost for the 1846 Salon so voting details are unavailable for this year. Once again, each work is identified via its registration number. An ‘Observations’ column is sometimes used to provide additional information. All the information from these registers has been recorded in the database.
Since works were not organised by genre before 1840, for these earlier years we have provided an estimation of the genre based on title and dimensions and using the same genre categories used by the jury. This is intended as a guideline only (for example, works with the title ‘Vue de…’ have primarily been categorised as landscapes but are likely to include marine paintings as well). We have also included additional information for sculpture, regarding the type of work (bust, statue etc. recorded in the ‘Type/Technique’ column) and material used (recorded under ‘Medium’). These works can be readily located during a database search using the drop-down filters.
In the years 1827, 1833, 1849 and 1850 the jury held revision sessions in which it admitted works which it had previously rejected in an earlier session that year (between 1833 and 1848 such sessions were banned). These cases are marked in the database via the ‘Pre-Revision’ column of the database, which details the jury’s original decision (for the 1848 jury decisions, see next section).
The period 1827-1850 covers three separate regimes which had certain consequences for the Salon. During the final Salon of the Restoration, in 1827, the king’s honorary council (‘Conseil Honoraire’) fulfilled the role of jury. 1831 saw the first Salon of the July Monarchy, in which the members of the painting, sculpture, architecture and lithography sections of the Académie des Beaux-Arts acted as jury, a role they held until the fall of that regime.
In 1848, this jury had already begun its operations when the revolution brought an end to the July Monarchy. The Interior Minister of the Provisional Government, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, decided that the 1848 Salon should go ahead as planned under the new regime, but, for practical reasons, a new jury was not put in place. The decisions of the former jury were ignored and all works which had been submitted to the Salon prior to the revolution and by the original deadline were admitted to the Salon (no new works were admitted, contrary to several recent accounts). The Pre-Revision column of the Works section of the database records all those decisions taken by the former jury during the three sessions held between 21–23 February (records held in the X Salon 1848 file in the Archives des Musées Nationaux), as well as the ultimate decision for all works to be admitted. In 1849, a jury was reinstated, whose members were voted for by the artists themselves.
Those works entered during the July Monarchy and appearing in the database as ‘Admis’ or ‘Refusé’ will have gone before the jury. In 1827, 1849 and 1850, however, certain artists were exempt from the jury and are marked as such in the database. In 1827, members of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and former pupils of the Académie de France in Rome were exempt. These artists were also exempt during the first three sessions in 1831, as well as members of the Légion d’honneur, gold medal-winners, former members of the Académie Royale de peinture et de sculpture, and artists submitting commissioned works. The jury abolished this system of exemptions following its third session in 1831. A system of exemptions was reintroduced under the Second Republic. In 1849 and 1850, members of the Institut and Légion d’honneur, and winners of the Grand Prix de Rome, and of first or second class medals, were all exempt.
Text by Harriet Griffiths & Alister Mill