Sunday, October 21, 2012

Salon de Paris Nude Portrait by M. Fronti

Early in the 20th century, the well-known photographer and publisher Alfred Noyer of Noyer Studios became involved in the Salon de Paris, more commonly called the Salon. Subsequent to his involvement in the Salon, he published the works of artists whose works had previously not been available to the general public.

SOLD Lovely nude image by artist M. Fronti, published by Alfred Noyer, c. 1905
Exhibition in the Salon was of key importance to becoming an established artist in France.

The Académie des Beaux-Arts was an organization devoted to preserving traditional French painting standards. In support of this goal, the academy promoted an annual juried show of art, the Salon de Paris, the first exhibition of which was held in 1725 (although the academy had organized other art shows as early as 1674). Prior to 1881, the Salon de Paris was sponsored by the French government, but in 1881 the government of France officially withdrew its sponsorship. After 1881, the show was sponsored by the Société des Artistes Français, which was an organization of all French painters and sculptors at the time of its foundation and whose principal purpose was to support the Salon. The Société des Artistes Français is still in existence today. 

A lot of the reason for the change of sponsorship of the Salon had to do with the birth of the Impressionist Movement, the rejection of Impressionist art by the more traditional artists who had previously controlled the Salon, and Napoleon's determination that the people should be allowed to decide for themselves the quality of the art. The origins of this shift then, actually occurred some 25 years previously, with the birth of Impressionism, and makes for some very interesting history reading, but for our purposes, what is also very important is what occurred just a few years before this postcard was published. In 1890, the Salon splintered again, this time over the desire of many within its ranks to encourage, through exhibition, young, previously un-awarded artists. This shift is the reason for a tremendous number of postcard images of beautiful artwork, such as the M. Fronti nude, pictured above, by relatively unheard of artists. It is a refreshing source of little known work, accessible to us thanks, in part, to publishers like Alfred Noyer.