Praised & Ridiculed - French painting 1820-1880 - Kunsthaus Zurich

Praised & Ridiculed - French painting 1820-1880 - Kunsthaus Zurich

Praised & Ridiculed – Kunsthaus Zurich – French painting 1820-1880

Today they are considered and praised as the “Precursors of Modernism”, but then they were rejected and ridiculed!

“Salon de Paris” was the most important annual art event in the Western world between 1748-1890 and a prerequisite for success for artists. It was founded by a division of the “Académie des beaux-arts” and was an undisputed power factor already from the start. The selection of the exhibited arts was made by a jury that consisted of award-winning artists. The public could purchase tickets and the grand opening night and the vernissage was a big occasion in the social calendar. Caricaturists like e.g. Honoré Daumier (Le Figaro), showed the amusing side of the attraction in his caricatures!

The 1848 revolution democratised the process, which resulted in less refusals and made it possible for foreign artists to participate.  However, the jury remained conservative, academic and became even more so refusing most Impressionist painters, which resulted in an uproar 1857. Napoleon III managed to calm the situation down by founding the “Salon de Refusés”, showing works that the Salon had rejected. The Impressionists held their own exhibitions instead and as a result the government withdraw their support to the Salon, which became a beginning of the end for them being the one and only power factor[1].

The exhibition at Kunsthaus /Zurich, shows an interesting selection of the different approaches that were intensively debated during 1820-1880. Art movements like Romanticism, Realism and Naturalism together with satiric sketches are shown both as adapted to current tradition and more sensational or even revolutional courses of action! High esteemed artists like e.g. Courbet, Delacroix, Géricault, Sisley, Monet and Renoir became “Precursors of Modernism”[2]!

The exhibition consists of different themes; historic painting, landscape into modernity, transitions, oriental inpired art, scenes from everyday life, the eroticised body and posing in a studio. A brilliant insight of this time and very interestingly and good balanced composition of the art.


[2] ”Praised & Ridiculed” by Kunsthaus Zurich


French 19th century paintings in Interior Design

Are classic figurative paintings only suitable in luxurious, classic styled interiors?

Somehow, the perception is that they should not fit into minimalistic, contemporary interiors, but why not? Contrasts often makes the atmosphere more beautiful and interesting, rather than strictly following one certain style.  When art is chosen carefully and thoughtfully, it has the ability to infuse personality and completely transform a space. To implement an extraordinary piece of art, already makes the interior exceptional!


1. Gustave Caillebotte “Pont de l’Europe”                                                                               2. Eugène Giraud “Opera ball” & Auguste Barthélemy Glanize
                                                                                                                                                                    “Souvenir from the Pyrenees”



Furniture and pictures from Brabbu, Boca de Lobo, Jonathan Adler, Stefan Zwicky and others

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