The Art of the Salon: The Triumph of Nineteenth-Century Painting
This deluxe reconsideration of mid-19th-century painting casts a newly appreciative eye on Salon painting — whose masterpieces have been largely dismissed from the canon of modern art, in favor of those that were famously rejected by the artistic establishment of the time.
The Paris Salons of the mid-19th century are more famous today for the paintings that were rejected than for those that were actually shown. The rejected works form today’s canon of art history and are regarded as heralds of a modern age. This book looks to reassess the other side of the art history of the 19th century. Salon painting has often been dismissed as overly academic or staid. Art historian Norbert Wolf turns back the pages of history as he reintroduces readers to the artistry and excellence of Salon painting in Europe, Britain, Russia and the US. In an opulent new book, illustrated throughout with gorgeous reproductions of masterpieces by Cabanel, Manet, Biertstadt, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Sargent, naming a few, Wolf looks at Salon painting from a variety of perspectives, such as the rise of the bourgeoisie and Paris’s position as Europe’s cultural capital. He explores styles and themes that were especially prevalent in Salon painting: history painting; portraits from home and in society; the rise of »Orientalism«; and the nationalism of landscape. Readers will come away from this well-researched and absorbing book with a steadfast appreciation of the Salon’s disciplined and academic approach to painting, and an understanding of why these works were once so revered by the general public.
“The Art of the Salon fills a serious hole in art history, and does it in a luxurious fashion that the salon painters would appreciate....[it] is certainly among the finest coffee-table volumes of this or any other year.” —The Palm Beach Post
“Like the subject it discusses, The Art of the Salon is visually stunning, larger than life…and triumphantly camp.” —American Fine Art Magazine
“The Art of the Salon … presents lush, visual evidence of the contributions of 19th-century Salon artists.” —Artist’s Magazine
Norbert Wolf is an art historian and author based in Munich. He has published several books with Prestel, including "Art Nouveau", "Art Deco", "Impressionism", and "The Golden Age of Dutch and Flemish Painting", as well as monographs on Albrecht Dürer and Titian.