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Picturing a World

Salon of 1880

The Salon of 1880 was so big that paintings had to be hung on the mezzanine above the sculptures for lack of space in the picture galleries. For the first time, they were also divided into sections for French artists and foreigners. While I was writing, I debated whether to have Jeanette win a place. The historical odds were against it, and I wanted her story to represent what a typical female student experienced. Yet rumor correctly predicted that the jury was going to be more lenient that year, and acceptances reached all-time highs. Oh, why not let the logic of a novel with a happy ending dictate the outcome? Spoiler alert: She makes it.

For the French national archive page from which this image is taken, click here.
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