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Paris Salon Exhibitions: 1667-1831

John S. Hallam

Hallam Timeline

Salon de 1791

There were 794 entries in the livret of 1791, plus additional works under the same number.1 Control of the Salon was taken away from the Academy by the National Assembly, which ordered the exhibition opened to all artists. The livret was no longer arranged by academic rank and works by the same artists were not listed together. Academic membership was indicated by an abbreviation and an alphabetical list of artists' addresses concluded the catalog.

The background painting is Jean-Joseph Taillasson's portrayal of the Syrian Queen Cleopatra (Thea) after taking poison. It was based on Pierre Corneille’s play Rodogune.

The transfer of Voltaire's remains to the Pantheon in the summer of 1791 is the subject of Alexandre Duplessis's colored print. The composer François-Joseph Gossec wrote several works honoring the French Revolution, including a hymn for the Voltaire event. Vestier's portrait represents Gossec in the act of composing some of those pieces.
Please click on the thumbnail image for magnification and key.

Vigée-Lebrun's portrait of the Italian composer Giovanni Paisiello was painted in Italy where the artist had taken temporary refuge from the Revolution in 1789.

Madame Labille-Guiard's portrait of the arch-revolutionary Maximilien de Robespierre of the National Assembly was a pastel that is now lost. Included here is a replica in oil that has been attributed to the artist.

The Salon jury rejected a smaller marble version of Houdon’s life-size bronze allegorical figure of winter in 1785. The reason given was lack of modesty.

Jacques-Louis David's highly finished drawing representing the delegates of the Third Estate pledging not to disband until France had a constitution was a study for the large painting below that was never completed.


Guiffrey, J.J.  Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqu’en 1800. Paris: Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, 1868–1871. Print.


1. J. J. Guiffrey, Collection des livrets des anciennes expositions depuis 1673 jusqu'en 1800. Various years of these livrets have been digitized and are available on GoogleBooks and on the University of Toronto Library Internet Archive at

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Hallam Timeline

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