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National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art
East Building Study Center
Washington
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Marking the publication of Documenting the Salon: Paris Salon Catalogs, 1673–1945, the exhibition presents over sixty examples of literature related to the Paris Salon drawn from nearly 250 years of exhibitions, controversies, and political upheavals. The installation not only includes publications that trace the rise and fall of the Paris Salon - an institution in the French art world - but also links them to works in the collection of the National Gallery of Art.

The Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture was founded in 1648, and a plan for regular exhibitions of its members’ work was established in the academy’s statutes of 1663. The first exhibition was in 1664 and 1665, with others following (sporadically) in 1673, 1699, 1704, and 1725. The Salon livret (“little book” or catalog) was first published for the Salon of 1673. The livret began as a pamphlet issued in decorative paper wrappers, a simple guide providing basic information, such as artists and titles, about the works on display. Early titles varied from one show to the next, as did the selection and organization of the information. The Salon became an annual event in 1737 and the livret title became standardized, at least until the Revolution. However, changes in the Salon’s administration and exhibitions continued throughout its history and were usually reflected in the livrets.

Picture: National Gallery of Art