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Salon des Refusés 2014

  • This event finished on 14 September 2014

The Salon des Refusés was initiated by the S.H. Ervin Gallery in 1992 in response to the large number of works entered into the Archibald Prize which were not selected for display in the official exhibition. The Archibald Prize is one of Australia’s most high profile and respected awards which attracts hundreds of entries each year and the S.H. Ervin Gallery’s ‘alternative’ selection has become a much anticipated feature of the Sydney art scene.

Each year our panel is invited to go behind the scenes of the judging process for the annual Archibald Prize for portraiture and Wynne Prize for landscape painting and figure sculpture at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to select an exhibition from the many hundreds of works entered in both prizes but not chosen for the official award exhibition. The criteria for works selected in the Salon are quality, diversity, humour and innovation. Our panel viewed 884 Archibald Prize and 669 Wynne Prize entries at the Art Gallery of New South Wales to select the 56 works for this alternative exhibition.

The 2014 selection panel:

Gina Fairley                 arts writer, independent curator and director Slot

Andrew Frost               art commentator, lecturer, curator and presenter of The Art Life
Jane Watters
                director, S.H. Ervin Gallery

The Salon des Refusés exhibition at the S.H. Ervin Gallery has established an excellent reputation that rivals the selections of the ‘official’ exhibition with works selected for quality, diversity, humour and experimentation  which examine contemporary art practices, different approaches to portraiture and responses to the landscape.


The term Salon des Refusés comes from a group of French artists of the 1860s who held several breakaway exhibitions from the traditional Salon overseen by the Academy. In 1863, the French Academy rejected a staggering 2800 canvases submitted for the annual Salon exhibition. Among those refused were Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro, Henri Fantin-Latour, James Whistler and Édouard Manet, who entered his now legendary painting, Le déjeuner sur l’Herbe. This particular work was regarded as a scandalous affront to taste. The jury also argued these artists were “a clear danger to society and that the slightest encouragement would be risky.”

Since there were very few independent art exhibitions in imperial France, the taste of the buying public was dictated almost entirely by the Academy. Most members of the public invested only in artists sanctioned by the Salon. Rejection by the Academy therefore threatened many artists with professional extinction.

The protests that followed the Academy’s 1863 decision were so public and so pointed that eventually Napoleon III himself appeared at the Palais de l’Industrie and demanded to see the rejected works.  He then instructed the Academy to reconsider its selection and when it refused, the Emperor decreed that the rejected paintings go on display in a separate exhibition. And so the phrase Salon des Refusés entered into the world’s artistic lexicon.

Holding Redlich People’s Choice Award

Sydney based painter Nick Stathopoulos has won this year’s Holding Redlich People’s Choice Award with his beautiful, hyper-realist portrait of author Robert Hoge, from works in the 2014 Salon des Refusés Exhibition, the alternative Archibald and Wynne Prize selection.

Robert Hoge is a writer and friend of Stathopoulos, his memoir Ugly was published in 2013.


Principal Sponsor


Sunday afternoons @ the Gallery

Sunday 27 July at 3pm

Join assemblage artist Scott Baker & painters Amanda Penrose Hart & Penelope Metcalf on their differing approaches to the landscape.

Sunday 3 August at 3pm

Join artists Jasper Knight & Tom Carment who will discuss their portraits in the Salon des Refusés

Sunday 24 August at 3pm

Nicholas Harding & Leslie Rice are recognised portrait painters and will speak about their portraits in the exhibition.

Exhibition checklist

image: NICK STATHOPOULOS Ugly  (Robert Hoge)