Some Interesting Facts:
- “The Salon des Paris”, sponsored by the French government since 1673, was considered the most esteemed artistic competition in Paris and one of the greatest spectacles in Europe. Works rejected by the selection committee got marked with a big red “R” on the back of the canvas.
- In 1863, the Paris Salon, called “The Exhibition of Living Artists” averaged 23,000 visitors a day (400,000 total at 10 francs a pop).
- That same year (and again in 1864), due to pressure from the artists and the public, the Emperor Napoleon III permitted a second exhibition, the “Salon des Refusés”, to take place simultaneously right next to the Salon, to showcase the artists whose work had been rejected by the Paris Salon. A total of only 3,500 people attended the Salon des Refusés, despite the bargain ticket price of 1 franc.
- Amongst the artists displaying at the Salon des Refusés in 1863 and 1864, were Édouard Manet, Edgar Dégas, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, and the American painter, James McNeill Whistler.
- In 1878, Alphonse Mucha’s application to the Prague Academy of Fine Arts was rejected, with the following recommendation: “Find yourself another profession where you’ll be more useful”.
- Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting, “Red Vineyard at Arles”, during his lifetime. He was little known to the art world at the time of his death, but his paintings became famous after he died.
- In 1907, Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” was so way ahead of its time that it was rejected by the art world and the general public. This painting of five figures in a brothel is nowadays regarded as the most outstanding work of Picasso’s earlier years.
- In 1961, second-grade school teacher at Belvoir Elementary, Claire Heiss, flunked Leslie Sigal in art (because she could not stay within the lines with her crayon)
The lesson to be learned? Listen to your own heart about who you want to be and what you want to do in life and then, do it. Period.
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