The term “salon art” began to be used in the second half of the 19th century. This was not due to the Parisian salons, whose hostesses (from Madame de Rambouillet to Madame Récamier) gathered around them celebrities from different fields in the 17th-19th centuries. This was the result of the great art exhibitions there – the Salons – the beginnings of which go back to the 1670s, the days of Louis XIV and his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The exhibitions featured members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, founded in 1648. From 1725 onwards these exhibitions were held in the Louvre, in 1737 they were changed to annual ones, from 1748 zurii chose works for exhibition. Several salons were criticized in the 1760s-80s by encyclopedist Denis Didero: this is the beginning of art criticism. The Great French Revolution led to an expansion of the circle of performers, and the authority of the academy fluctuated. Even more so was the subsequent development of art.

It is known that zurii did not take in 1855. Paris World Expo French
the painting department opposed Gustave Courbet’s “Funeral at Ornans” and “The Artist’s Studio”. Courbet then displayed his 40 works in a separate building, which he named the “Pavilion of Realism” (Pavillon du Réalisme). In 1852, Napoleon III, who struck Courbet’s painting “The Bather” in the Salon with a whip, was forced to open the “Salon des Refusés” (Salon des Refusés) to artists who had been excluded from the Salon in 1863. In the latter, 2800 paintings were displayed, including Édouard Manet’s “A Meal in the Greenery”. This usually begins with the history of the avant-garde. In 1874, the Impressionists organized their first exhibition in the studio of the photographer Nadar. Although they had not succeeded for long, the spirit of change had already penetrated Salon.

As the government ceased to fund the latter, the French Artists’ Association (Société des Artistes Français) was founded in 1881, which began to organize its own Salons. The first president of the association was William-Adolphe Bouguereau, one of the best-known representatives of academic-salon art. This Salon featured Amandus Adamson in 1888, 1889, and 1891.

More liberal artists – Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Ernest Meissonnier and others. – founded the National Society of Fine Arts (Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts) in 1890 to promote the French school; they created their own salon, which issued catalogs illustrated no longer with engravings, but already with photo reproductions, had exhibitions designed, selected members of the association who could exhibit as many works as they wanted at the Salon Nationale, etc.

As early as 1884, the Society of Independent Artists (Société des Artistes Indépendants) had emerged as a counterbalance to the French Artists’ Association, whose salons did not have awards (in 1849, medals were awarded to the most outstanding performers in the Salon). The founders of this association were several neo- and postimpressionists (Paul Signac, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec,etc.). In 1903, the future Phoebes (pr.k. fauves) – Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse and others – founded the Autumn Salon (Salon d’Automne), where montparnasse artists set the tone before World War II. In 1923, the Salon des Tuileries were founded. The latter was preferred by Adamson-Eric for the artistic level. Wiiralt performed regularly at the Autumn Salon. Jaan Koort has performed in all these salons. We cannot name all the Estonian artists who performed in parisian salons here. In 1943, critic Gaston Diehl founded the May Salon (Salon de Mai), inspired by the spirit of artistic résistance. In 1949, the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles (Salon des Réalités Nouvelles) emerged with an abstract direction. Salon des Artistes Français, Salon Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Salon des Indépendants, Salon d’Automne – all of them still exist in a more or lesser modernized form today.

The most conservative salon had a reputation in the salon of the French Society of Artists (Salon des Artistes Français). Academic art was exhibited there, which, under the influence of the incoming new directions – realism, impressionism, symbolism, art nouveau, etc., became increasingly eclectic, satisfying the tastes of the buyer community, who were reluctant to accept new phenomena in their more radical statements. It exhibited predominantly art that wanted to please, was quite openly commercial or official. Progressive art people were contemptuous of such salon art until the 1960s. But then pop-art brought with it a much gentler, more ambivalent attitude to mass culture, former academics were brought out of the repositories and hung alongside impressionists and other “-ists”. The era of postmodernism arrived with its skepticism about the modernist idea of progress, its pluralism, its disregard for the hierarchies and classifications of the past, its interest in everything that had hitherto been marginalized, including kitsch. Kitsch — that cheap mass production that invented, vanished, poured over with sugar the noble art themes of the past — turned into a piquant passion in its cranky and naïve beauty for collectors fed up with the conceptual pretensions of modern art.

However, salon art, which often tended to slip into kitsch, cannot be equated with the latter. This was generally done by professional masters who, by creating erotic tickles or pseudo-romantic moods in the viewer, were able to stay on the verge of good and bad taste and, in any case, impersonated with manual skill – a trait that begins to disappear not only from contemporary art, but from the way of life in general, and as a result becomes more and more appreciated.