The Baschet Salon Catalogs

Ludovic Baschet & Illustrated Salon Catalogues, 1879-1900

Image of the Baschet Salon catalog book spines

The Académie royale was replaced by the École des beaux-arts in 1795 and the Salon was opened to all artists. During the course of the nineteenth century, the Salon became an annual event and was designated the exposition officielle from the 1866 catalogue onnwards. Beginning in 1881 the French government relinquished responsibility for sponsoring the official Salon exhibitions. The Société des artistes français assumed this role and issued accompanying catalogues each year through 1914.

Working with the Société des artistes français, Ludovic Baschet, a Parisian arts editor, pioneered the regularly published illustrated commercial Salon catalogs. Between 1879-1914, Baschet and his successors issued several series of deluxe, illustrated catalogues for the official Salon, which later included works exhibited at the Salon of the Société des beaux-arts.

Beginning in 1879, Baschet edited at least two illustrated series containing plates published by Goupil & Cie, a well-known art dealership in Paris with a worldwide trade in fine art reproductions of paintings and sculptures. The plates were created using a printmaking technique known as photogravure. Photogravure prints were also important for the development and evolution of photography.

In the same year, Baschet also published the first volume in another projected series of illustrated catalogues, Salon illustré, which ran from 1879-1914. Archives and Research Collections (ARC) of Carleton University has a complete set of the series entitled Expositions des beaux-arts (Salon de...) which ran from 1880-1882; and an incomplete set of the series entitled Salon de... which ran from 1883-1900. ARC possesses the Salon catalogues from the latter series for the years 1880-1890 and 1892-1893.

These beautiful volumes are also great repositories of salon criticism. Each volume, excluding the Expositions des beaux-arts series, is organized into sections based on painting and sculpture.