Many of the famous artists that made their way into history books first broke into the the public consciousness when they were featured the Paris Salon, an annual exhibition of the French government’s AcadÃ©mie des Beaux-Arts. The Salon functioned as the official sanction of the art world and could make or break a painter’s career.
The strength of the Salon’s influence is perhaps most evident in the drama that ultimately tore down its authority ““ the Salon de RefusÃ©s of 1863 in which many “refused” artists, among them the radical impressionists like Manet and Whistler, exhibited work that the Academy had sneered at. The Salon eventually splintered and waned in importance, but the concept of the juried show lives on. Each year, the Springville Museum of Art holds a Spring Salon, which is not exclusively Mormon art, but is definitely Utah art, and it is my personal belief that the Spring Salon is where Mormonism’s burgeoning Manets and Davids may well first show up.
I’m going to end the analogy there, though, because I don’t want to speculate about what on earth a Utah Salon de RefusÃ©s would look like.
The 85th annual Utah Spring Salon is on display in Springville until July 5th and I hereby exhort you with all the feeling of a tender stranger from the internet to get yourself there and take it in. It’s a wonderful exhibition every year, but this year it’s particularly grand.