The Salon des Refusés was initiated by the S.H. Ervin Gallery in 1992 in the tradition of the renegade French Impressionists of the 1860s who held a breakaway exhibition from the reactionary French 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. A hundred and twenty-nine years later, the S.H. Ervin Gallery revived the tradition and the name.
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 works entered in both prizes not chosen for the official award exhibition. The criteria for works selected in the Salon are quality, diversity, humour and innovation. Our panel viewed 873 Archibald Prize and 792 Wynne Prize entries at the Art Gallery of New South Wales to select the 57 works for this alternative exhibition.
The 2011 selection panel is:
Stella Downer Director, Stella Downer Fine Art
Brett Stone Director, Rex Irwin Art Dealer
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’ prize exhibition and is often cited as a more lively and discerning selection.
People’s Choice Award Winner
The 2011 Holding Reldich People’s Choice Award has been won by Robert Hannaford for his portrait of actor Trevor Jamieson.
The painting was done during performances of the Namatjira play at the Belvoir Street Theatre in late 2010. Trevor Jamieson played the title role of Albert Namatjira in the stage production which chronicled the life and achievements of Namatjira and his decline into poverty I his later years.
Robert Hannaford was born in Riverton, South Australia in 1944 and grew up on his family farm. He is a self taught artist. He worked as political cartoonist for the Adelaide Advertiser from 1964 -1967 and has been a full time artist since 1970.
In 1969 Hannaford won the inaugural AME Bale Art Scholarship and he worked in Melbourne from 1969 – 1973 . In 1990 he won the Doug Moran Portrait Prize.
Sundays @ the Gallery – Public Programs
Sunday 22nd May at 3pm – Artists Robert Malherbe, Sally Robinson, Sherna Teperson and Sarah Tomasetti
Sunday 29th May at 3pm – Artists Peter Kingston, Tom Carment & Ben Smith
Sunday 5th June at 3pm – Artists Agnes Bruck, Tanya Stubbles and Sophie Cape
Sunday 12th June at 3pm – Artists Guy Maestri, Alan Jones and Kate Swinson
Sunday 19th June at 3pm – Artists Chris Langlois and Craig Handley