Review of Salon d’Automne Paris 2021, France

The Salon d’Automne Paris 2021, as a historic fair is part of the dynamic momentum of a new cultural autumn, returns from October 28 to 31. Every year, the Salon d’Automne organizes in Paris a major annual meeting which highlights several hundred works of art in all disciplines. An internationally renowned historic art fair, the Salon d’Automne has established itself as one of the unmissable events for today’s artists.

For its new edition, the Salon d’Automne presents 890 artists (including 161 new participants), from 43 countries covering 5 continents. The exhibition is presented in the form of sections, organized for a better reading of the works and a didactic accompaniment of the public. More than 1,000 works are thus presented to a wide audience, from the general public to professionals in the art world, offering a wide range of artistic multidisciplinarity. Punctuating the four days of exhibition, a cultural program of conferences, round tables, concerts and performances is organized.

An independent exhibition, the Salon d’Automne has the founding objective of promoting the avant-gardes and innovative spirits. The exhibition of the Salon d’Automne is presented in sections, rigorously selected and organized for a better reading of the works. Besides the classifications by disciplines (Engraving, Sculpture, Drawing, Photography, Digital Art, Video, Architecture, Environmental Art, Artists’ Books), there are several sections for Painting, defined by their pictorial tendencies.

The Salon d’Automne is an association of artists, non-profit-making, founded in 1903, recognized for its public utility since 1920, whose aim is to encourage and develop fine arts in all its events and particularly through exhibitions both in France and abroad. Created at the Petit Palais in Paris, by a few friends gathered around the architect Frantz Jourdain, in reaction to the ambient academicism. Decided to organize an independent exhibition, Instigator of multidisciplinarity, fraternity and equality in the arts, the Salon d’Automne was born.

Since its creation, the Salon d’Automne has witnessed the emergence of the most important artistic movements such as fauvism, surrealism, cubism, abstraction, new figuration, singular art… With its prestigious history, the show does not however ignore contemporary creation. For 118 years, it has been renewing its mission to offer artists a forum of choice by bringing together each year the most dynamic and promising of current creation.

The multidisciplinary nature of the Salon d’Automne was essential from the start and has continued to this day. Today’s artists have the same needs and aspirations as their elders: to create, to experiment with new modes of expression, to exhibit and show their work to the public, to be recognized. Salon d’Automne breathed new life and established the reputation of the Show on the international scene; exchanges between different cultures develop emulation between artists, fraternity and friendship.

The Salon d’Automne has taken part in all the major artistic currents from the beginning of the 20th century until today, welcoming contemporary artists from all over the world, both recognized signatures than emerging talent. The Salon d’Automne is 80% financed by the participating artists. Its ambition is to encourage and develop the fine arts in all its manifestations and particularly through exhibitions both in France and abroad.

The regular creation of new sections within the Salon d’Automne, Digital Art in 2016 or Naïve Art this year, once again proves its involvement in the representation of all artistic creations, without borders, without a priori. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Salon d’Automne has continued to offer a new perspective on the creation of its time, represented in particular through the diversity of mediums, as well as through its very strong international orientation, 40% of exhibiting artists come of the whole world.

This year, an important cultural program take place throughout the event combining conferences, debates, music, performances. This year, the show is pleased to welcome the composer Pascal Dusapin, sponsor of this 118th edition. He was joined by guest sculptor Medjid Houari, as well as the guest collective Domino Full Action.


Digital Art
Since the 1960s, digital creations have developed considerably as an artistic genre. From interactive art, generative art, audio-visual art, and even robotic art where the body is engaged; as spectacular, technological forms of expression, a new way of expressing themselves is offered to artists. Digital art, always in dialogue with traditional arts, has become a highly successful art form in the 21st century.

The simplest way to define abstract art is to say that it is “non-figurative art”. Figurative painting is already an abstraction since it transposes reality onto a flat surface. In a painting, what is essential is the composition, the proportions, the rapport between colour and matter. Often it is not by a simple decision, but by a slow evolution that the artist’s work is directed subconsciously towards abstraction. Some artistic movements of the last century have greatly contributed to the evolution of abstract painting, such as cubism for forms and fauvism for colours. Abstract painting is constantly changing. The younger artists of the Salon d’Automne not only participate but they ensure its continuity and renewal. The doors are flung open to the future.

Synthese – Emotion
The Synthese section, created by Monique Baroni, combines diverse modes of expression ranging from the highly figurative to the very abstract. Its purpose is to gather a lively, musical selection of art, with rhythms, highs and lows, rests, accents and silences so that the works mutually off set each other in a consistent whole. Over the years, ties have been forged, friendships have emerged, a loyalty created, perhaps, through the emotions that only Art can conceive.

Figurative Response
Figurative painting of quality is a rare commodity. A new way of looking at things of the realistic world that an object changes, rather it is because one accepts the true nature of the object that our gaze changes. The painter’s job is difficult. One can love painting, colour and be eager to produce works with great sincerity, but that is not enough since one must first learn the craft. Painting remains first and foremost a good and very old craft.

Expressionnism Expression Libre
Expressionism does not seek to show the world as it is, but to express it. By the second half of the 19th century, Van Gogh had opened the doors to a way of painting marked by pure expression. He exploited this through the themes of body or portrait, without hesitating to distort features. Four hundred years prior to that, the great colourist El Greco started this trend by elongating forms, exacerbating movement, increasing dramatic intensity by emphasizing the gaze. By 1580, El Greco deliberately created an expressionism that would only reappear in full at the beginning of the 20th century.

Every year in October, the Emergences section, mostly figurative, with a dream, even surrealist feel plants the flag of the Salon d’Automne in the heart of Paris on the Champs Elysees. Ingres had said, “Drawing and the Truth of Art.” At Emergences, design and colour are closely related. Beyond the canvases that they’ll be given to look at, visitors was invited to peruse the painted dreams of artists.

The Convergences section contains all painting trends ranging from figurative to abstract, representing contemporary artistic movements. This section is eclectic, expressing a variety of themes guided by artists from different cultures. They express art in styles free of all constraints. They capture the sublime moment of life or the imaginary with consummate skill based on their experiences.

Naive Art
The creation of the “Naive Art” section within the Salon d’Automne allows visitors to discover the talent of nineteen naive artists, noble heirs to a prestigious lineage. In a wide range of spontaneous and sparkling works, they represent, in turn, a colourful, utopian world where man, animal, nature and the city cohabit in perfect harmony. Behind this childish appearance and rosy cheeks, each easy-to-understand little story expresses ideals and delivers messages of humanity that touch your heart.

Artists’ Books
The pages devoted to artists’ books, or “Livres d’artistes” which have, for such a long time, retained within themselves the creative gest, spread open and give themselves up freely to the reader’s gaze. Pages of paper or metal, inked, engraved, cut out, all are the silent crucible of the alchemist, wherein text and images unite in wedlock in an ephemeral chant upon the very instant that they are read, as poetry come alive under the gaez of your eyes.

Drawing is a struggle between nature and the artist. In our changing world, this struggle can take the form of an embrace, an adversity or sometimes a loving dialogue. The drawing section of the Salon d’Automne presents works with various techniques: lead, ink, pastels, watercolour through means ranging from figurative to abstract art. Today, drawing has become an art in its own right. All these artists are, because of the unforgiving means, drawn to the essential.

The Photography section of the Salon d’Automne is a space for artists both recognised and newcomers, coming from all walks of life. Digital, numerical and mixed techniques are exhibited, respecting tradition and representing the innovative currents of contemporary photography. At the Salon d’Automne on the Champs Elysées, the Photography section offers art lovers, collectors and gallery owners a wide array of rigorously selected artwork, which is varied and unique.

The Engraving section of the Salon d’Automne offers a comparison between different esthetics in each discipline of either woodcut or metal, with multiple variations, influences and complementary elements. These include: wire; wood; standing wood; chisel; dry point; etching and aquatint, black or mixed and other techniques.

The sculpture section of the Salon d’Automne covers many plastic art forms, showing numerous possibilities related to the material. Whether sculpted in stone or wood, cast in bronze, metal or resin, assembled with diverse elements, all the works exhibited are the expression of each artist’s inner creativity. They are placed among paintings, therefore bringing volume to flat surfaces. They are like spikes, echoing the paintings’ colours, tones, rythms and themes.

Myths and Singularity
This section presents unusual, non-academic techniques, a current trend of art freed from norms. For the second year, emphasis is placed on another form of mural art -salvage art paintings of recovered objects, wood, plastic, bone, paper, industrial felt, fabrics… assembling techniques and collage, and also transforming materials,welded, twisted, knotted, sewn. And we always give prominence to poetic and colourful painting and to odd sculpture. Artists are more than ever carriers of magic, Salvage, deviate, transform…

Environnemental Art
Art creates an environmental space, and from the Environment Art is born. The artist is in direct dialogue with the environment. This necessary adhesion is a kind of breathing, where the artistic architectures are in constant communication… Any act, any material, support, space, magnify the work and talent of the artist. Through his practice the artist takes materials, appropriates them, diverts them, changes our perception, to better redirect it. Destruction, reconstruction, the work progresses, emerges, mutates in a temporal space. Artist’s work therefore settles in symbiosis with volumes and architecture. In perpetual movement, the artist leads us on unchartered tracks, on the path of dreams, to let go in order to re-create.

Architecture is a fully-fledged art. It is the art of creating spaces,combining notions of composition, rhythm, proposing sets of shapes, proportions and balance, featuring colours, materials and light that resonate with the surrounding site. The city evolves in diversity, which in turn builds its richness. The strength of each project lies in its ability to create emotion beyond constraints. The notion of synthesis between the different arts generates a strong link between music, painting and sculpture: the act of architectural creation, destined to leave a deep imprint, has value because of its plastic dimension and expression of its modernity.