Saturday, August 09, 2008

Not the Royal Academy - a Salon des Refusés

"Salon des Refusés" is an “exhibition of rejects” and is traditionally associated with the exhibition created by the Impressionist painters whose work had been rejected by the Paris Salon in 1874. These are the same Impressionists whose work now sells for millions!

Every year for the last 18 years, Not the Royal Academy at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery has been providing a home for the best of the paintings, drawings and etchings submitted to the great Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts - and rejected.

Artists collect their work at the Academy and bring their work straight to the Gallery where they are told straight away whether or not it will be hung. The tradition is so well established that the Royal Academy now displays the Gallery's leaflets inviting artists to submit their work for a second chance - and a second round of judging. Around 4,000 works end up making the trek from Burlington House in Piccadilly to The Cut in SE1.

The best thing is there is no submission charge although all work is subject to the normal commission charge levied by the gallery if it sells. It's therefore in the artist's interests to pitch a price at a level which is realistic and for the gallery to only accept work on which they might earn a commission.

I think it would be fair to say that those who tend to produce representational work - whether realistic or impressionistic - tend to stand a better chance of getting hung at Llewellyn Alexander. You can see some digital examples of work which has been accepted at the special website dedicated to the exhibition - Not the Royal Academy. However it doesn't have images of all the work which is available in the gallery. For example, on Thursday this week at the Gallery, I saw work by the President and a member of the Royal Watercolour Society - Richard Sorrell was in the famous stacks (of paintings lining the edges of the exhibition space) and David Brayne whose work was on the wall.

There's a very useful article The Second Chance by Helen Gazeley in the Summer 2008 edition of the Artists and Illustrator's Magazine. It highlights the friendly approach and practical and helpful advice on offer - which is certainly what I've always experienced when submitting work to this gallery.
..I'm looking for nice colours, tone and draughtsmanship. Ideally you want all three, but if you've got one you're halfway there.
Gillian Llewellyn Lloyd - in The Second Chance, Helen Gazely, Artists and Illustrator's Magazine
The exhibition runs from 9 June – 23 August 2008 - which means there's just two weeks left. During that time the hang is changed three times. I always enjoy the fact that I get to see the final hang when I submit my feline art each year for similar scrutiny by Gillian Llewellyn Lloyd (see 14th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Feline Artists at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery).

The exhibition is open Monday - Saturday - 10am to 7.30pm inclusive and continues until 23rd August.

Note:
Here's the explanation from Wikipedia about the 1874 Salon des Refusés - which launched the Impressionist Movement.

After seeing the rejected works in 1863, Emperor Napoleon III decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized. While many viewers came only to laugh, the Salon des Refusés drew attention to the existence of a new tendency in art and attracted more visitors than the regular Salon.[3]

Artists' petitions requesting a new Salon des Refusés in 1867, and again in 1872, were denied. In the latter part of 1873, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, and Sisley organized the Société Anonyme Coopérative des Artistes Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs ("Association of Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers") for the purpose of exhibiting their artworks independently. Members of the association, which soon included Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, and Edgar Degas, were expected to forswear participation in the Salon. The organizers invited a number of other progressive artists to join them in their inaugural exhibition, including the slightly older Eugène Boudin, whose example had first persuaded Monet to take up plein air painting years before.[4] Another painter who greatly influenced Monet and his friends, Johan Jongkind, declined to participate, as did Manet. In total, thirty artists participated in their first exhibition, held in April of 1874 at the studio of the photographer Nadar.
Wikipedia: extract from Impressionism
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