Exhibition of Rejects

Spring 2006, I'm sitting in the most fascinating lecture of my entire academic career. The professor, a man who resembles a mad scientist more than the artist that he is, is inducting me and my classmates into the Salon des Refusés, the exhibition of rejects. In Paris during the 1860s, critics not only opined on the works of the artist, but dictated what an artist was capable of creating. Painters were pigeonholed as either able to paint still life or portraits or landscapes or nudes. An artist could not possibly paint both a peach and a person or a bare bosom and a boat floating in a pond.

Manet was irate that spectators were limiting the abilities of an artist based on arbitrary precepts. He challenged the status quo by not only proving he could paint still life, landscapes, nudes and portraits, but that he could combine the four styles of painting in one piece of work. His magnum opus, Déjeuner sur l'Herbe, showcases his abilities as an artists and demonstrates that an artist is only limited by his own imagination.

Déjeuner sur l'Herbe is particularly poignant for me, because I relate to the frustrations of Manet and his contemporaries. Sometimes well-meaning individuals attempt to support me by discouraging me from pursuing more than one avenue of creative writing. "Focus on one genre," is one nugget of advice I've received. As a result of my diverging interests, I am accused of having a lack of discipline. Unauthentic, insincere, and juvenile are just a few of the words of support I've heard.

Truth be told, my critics have been spot on accurate.

Writing is not my "passion."

My heart belongs to
story telling. The art of story telling is not limited to fiction. Non-fiction can qualify as creative writing, if written creatively! Some stories are best told through poetry. Other stories, such as the story of a struggling artist attempting to be understood, is best told on canvas with oils.

That's my story. What's yours?


  1. I had read a post over at The Reading Journey about a fictional behind-the-scenes look at another Parisien painting. Not quite exactly the topic you've covered here, but I thought it similar enough that you may like to read that as well.

  2. Thank you, Michael! The Boating Party is another of my favs. At The Grounds for Sculpture, J.Seward Johnson has an adorable life size sculpture of The Boating Party--it's really something to be seen. That was a great tip--I'm adding the Vreeland book to my WL.


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