Harald Slott-Moller Spearheaded Danish Version Of The French Exhibition of Rejects

Danish painter and ceramicist Harald Slott-Moller (August 17, 1864 to October 20, 1937) was born in Copenhagen. He was formally trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1883. He then trained for three years with Peder Severin Kroyer.

He worked as a ceramicist at the faience factory Alumia between 1902 and 1906. With his work there, he was regarded widely as a leading craftsman.

Slott-Moller’s wife Agnes was a painter. Together, they were founding members of The Free Exhibition (Den Frie Udstillig) in 1891. Modeled after the Exhibition of Rejects (Salon de Refuses) in France, the Danish artists’ association formed in protest of the rigid admission requirements of the Kunsthal Charlottenborg.

Their first exhibition included 100 works by 18 artists, including Slott-Moller’s teacher, Peder Severin Kroyer. In 1893, a pavilion was built near the city hall square in Copenhagen. To this day, the art center features works selected by artists rather than “cultural authorities.”

The French Exhibition of Rejects (Salon de Refuses) was formed in 1863. Initially it referred to any paintings rejected by the jury of the Paris Salon. Today, the term is often used broadly to include works rejected by juries of any art show.

In 1863, the Paris Salon rejected two thirds of the paintings it juried. Among them were works by Çamille Pissarro and Eduard Manet. Emile Zola, who covered the show of rejects as a journalist, reported that the thousand-plus daily visitors pushed through the crowded exhibition area to view the rejected paintings.

Emperor Napoleon III responded to the public’s interest in the emerging style of painters known as the Impressionists. He decided to let the public weigh in on the legitimacy of the new artistic trends by allowing the rejected artists a place in the Palace of Industry.

In Copenhagen today, Den Frie Udstilling exhibits experimental art and emerging artists. The Artist’s Autumn Exhibition is an open platform where any artists can submit their work. The jury is composed of artists who submitted previously.

Bravo to some of the great rejects of all time!

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