On this Date in History, May 15: Salon des Refusés, Hammershøi and Edward Hopper

May 15th is a notable date in art history-

On May 15, 1863 an exhibit was created in Paris from the paintings that were rejected by the jurors of the Salon of the French Academy. In that year of the Annual Salon more than half of the works of art, over 2,000, were not selected to be part of the exhibit. Therefore the "Salon des Refusés" was held, giving those artists a chance to exhibit their work.  The idea for this alternative Salon was that of Emperor Napolean III who felt the jurors were too harsh, and this would give the public a chance to decide for themselves.

Manet, The Luncheon in the Grass, 1863, Musee D'Orsay, Paris


As Robert Rosenblum wrote in the book 19th-Century Art:

"This so-called Salon des Refusés, however, immediately took on the stature of a counterestablishment manifestation, where artists at war with authority could be seen and where the public could go either to jeer or to enlarge their ideas of what a work of art could be.  The counter-Salon opened two weeks after the official one, on May 15, and immediately attracted hordes of Parisians, who numbered as many as four thousand on a Sunday, when admission was free."*

The Salon des Refusés was a turning point in French 19th century art and included works by Manet, Whistler and Henri Fantin-Latour.

Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior with Ida Playing the Piano, 1910, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan

Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi was born on this day in Copenhagen (May 15, 1864 - February 13, 1916).  He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1879 -1884.  Hammershøi painted several subjects including portraits, landscapes and cityscapes, but he is best known for his interior spaces and was called De Stillestuers Maler (The Painter of Tranquil Rooms).  He has also been called the Danish Vermeer as he has been influenced by Dutch Baroque painting.

Edward Hopper, The Nighthawks, 1942, Art Institute of Chicago

On May 15th 1967 American painter Edward Hopper died in New York City (July 22, 1882 – May 15, 1967). Hopper spent most of his life in New York, studying at the New York School of Art and Design under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.  He worked as both an illustrator and painter, creating works in oils and watercolors, as well as making many etchings.  Hopper is best known for his realistic style of painting and portraying contemporary American life, both in urban scenes and landscapes.  He painted throughout his life and died at age 84.  His works have had a big influence on later generations of American artists.

Books on the Salon des Refuses-

The Judgement of Paris by Ross King. 2006

19th-Century Art. by Robert Rosenblum and H.W. Janson. 1984.

*Rosenblum, Robert. and H.W. Janson. 19th-Century Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1984. p. 281.

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