salon des refuses

If you had been visiting the prestigious Paris Salon exhibitions during the 1860s, here are some examples of paintings you would not get to see. The Salon at the time was run by people who wanted art that had traditional framing devices and traditional and instructive subject matter. The artists whose work focused on ordinary moments in ordinary people’s lives, rejected framing devices and were interested in painting out of doors found their work rejected over and over again by the established art world, and by people who were meant to know great art when they saw it. Of course, we know now that a lot of the discarded paintings were masterpieces!

Eventually, tired of being overlooked, the artists decided to have a salon of their own, “The Salon des Refusés” where they could display their work and give the public the chance to make up their own minds. These pioneering artists, the impressionists, went on to change art forever, and now Impressionism is probably the most popular and beloved style of art, seen as beautiful, meaningful and accessible to critics such as little children and people who usually don’t like art!

Do you have a private Salon des Refusés in your life? I know you do, because I have one of my own (quite extensive, if you want to know the true story). At the moment, it’s myself who has experienced so much rejection as far as finding a job that I’m a bit stuck at the moment. I’ve applied for jobs I didn’t care about. I’ve applied for jobs I wanted so badly. I’ve applied at grocery stores and gas stations, museums and schools, libraries and retail stores. I’ve had some interviews but so far! Nothing. And, this has been going on for such a long time.

I do feel discouraged and depressed about this state of affairs and I was thinking about the Salon des Refusés today. Just because you are rejected does not mean that you are not valuable and worthy. And, maybe I will have to make something of my own.

Monet: Women in the Garden, Hotel des Roches Noires, Trouville.
Degas: At the Races in the Countryside
Morisot: The Artist’s Sister Edma Seated in a Park
Bazille: Studio on the Rue Furstenberg
Manet: Women in a Garden

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