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The Tradition of the Salon

The Salon, room A106

“Salon style” refers to a method of hanging paintings from floor to ceiling, originating in the 1670s at the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, in Paris. The style was named after the room in the Louvre where the Académie’s annual exhibitions were held – the Salon Carré. These were prestigious events for artists, while also allowing visitors to engage in discussions and criticism of the works.

This style of exhibition became popular throughout Europe and, later, in North America. In Canada, the Art Association of Montreal (1860), the Ontario Society of Artists (1872) and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1880) all followed this European model of hanging works until the early 1900s, when modernist trends began favouring more generously spaced installations.