20th Wallace Art Awards Salon des Refusés
The 20th Wallace Art Awards 2011, with prizes amounting to over $165,000, were presented on Monday 5 September by Auckland Mayor Len Brown at The Pah Homestead, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre. The Awards are the longest surviving and largest of their kind in New Zealand. They differ from other important New Zealand art prizes in that they aim to provide challenging opportunities and broadening experiences to the four major winners by way of residencies at top-class international institutions.
The Wallace Arts Trust received 559 entries from which 117 entries have been selected as finalists. Sixty-one finalists were chosen for the Travelling Show and the balance was represented in the Salon des Refusés. The Awards were judged by three distinguished New Zealand artists – Philip Trusttum, Sara Hughes and Peter Gibson-Smith.
The concept of the Salon des Refusés has a very honourable history: The first was held in 1863 and arose because the official exhibition sponsored by the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris had been coming under huge criticism for rejecting new artists. The resulting complaints of bias led the Emperor Napoleon III to allow the rejected works to be displayed in a separate exhibition. In that first exhibition were several important paintings such as Manet’s “The Luncheon on the Grass”, James McNeil-Whistler’s “The White Girl”, and included works by Henri Fantin-Latour, Paul Cézanne, Armand Guillaumin, Johan Jongkind and Camille Pissarro.