“Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897” Exhibition

Guggenheim Museum

poster for “Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897” Exhibition

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Tower Level 4

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Mystical Symbolism: The Salon de la Rose+Croix in Paris, 1892–1897, the first museum exhibition on this revelatory and significant yet frequently overlooked series of Salons. Mysterious, mythical, and visionary themes, often drawn from literature, prevailed in the art of the six exhibitions, which were held annually in Paris from 1892 to 1897. Images of femmes fragiles and fatales, androgynous creatures, chimeras, and incubi were the norm, as were sinuous lines, attenuated figures, and anti-naturalistic forms. Featuring highlights from the Salons, the Guggenheim exhibition will include approximately forty works by a cross section of artists—some familiar, others less so—and invite a fresh look at and new scholarship on the legacies of late nineteenth-century Symbolist art.

Mystical Symbolism is organized by Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, with the assistance of Ylinka Barotto, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Following its New York presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, from October 28, 2017–January 7, 2018.

In the spring of 1892 Joséphin Péladan (1858–1918), author, critic, and Rosicrucian, organized the first Salon de la Rose+Croix at the Galerie Durand-Ruel in Paris. Showcasing mystical Symbolist art, particularly a hermetic and spiritually devoted vein favored by the eccentric Péladan, the annual Salons were cosmopolitan in reach and served as a crossroads, gathering the work of artists from Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Benefiting from extensive research to identify artworks shown in the original exhibitions, Mystical Symbolism will encompass painting, work on paper, and sculpture by artists such as Antoine Bourdelle, Rogelio de Egusquiza, Jean Delville, Charles Filiger, Ferdinand Hodler, Fernand Khnopff, Alphonse Osbert, Armand Point, Georges Rouault, Carlos Schwabe, Alexandre Séon, Jan Toorop, Ville Vallgren, and Félix Vallotton.

Mystical Symbolism provides an opportunity to explore the diverse and sometimes opposing concepts that informed Symbolism in the 1890s. Hinging on central artworks shown at each Salon, the exhibition will tease out seminal tropes, such as the role of Orpheus, adulation of the 15th-century early Renaissance Italian painters known as the Primitives, and the cult of personality that developed around figures including Richard Wagner and Péladan himself. Accompanied by historical documents and set in galleries adorned with lush furnishings, the exhibition conveys the spirit of the Salon experience. A musical component with work by Erik Satie and others underscores the key role occupied by composers for the movement.

Previous exhibitions on the Symbolist movement have focused primarily on a nationality or a broad theme, rather than on a specific event like the cultish Péladan’s Salon de la Rose+Croix. The participants’ diverging ideologies, ranging from politically conservative and Catholic to radically anarchist and anti-clerical, reveal how the varied approaches are dialectically related to the sacred and spiritual philosophies that constituted Symbolist art. By tracing the means through which the Salon proposed these impulses, the Guggenheim exhibition investigates the Symbolist precepts attendant in modernism.
The fully illustrated exhibition catalogue will offer new scholarship on the Salon de la Rose+Croix and Symbolism. It will be comprised of essays on the Salon and its main themes (Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York), the contemporary reception of the salon (Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, independent scholar), and the connections between Symbolists tenets and those of early 20th-century avant-garde artists (Kenneth E. Silver, Professor of Art History, New York University). The catalogue will also contain a selected bibliography and artist entries authored by emerging scholars.

Furniture courtesy of Roche Bobois.
Additional support provided by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Mystical Symbolism is accompanied by a range of public programs. For details and updates, visit guggenheim.org/calendar.

Curator’s Eye
Curator’s Eye programs provide an opportunity for visitors to explore the museum’s exhibitions, collections, and architecture on a tour led by a Guggenheim curator or conservator with expert knowledge of the work on view. Free with museum admission. Some events have limited capacity.
Wednesday, July 19, 12 pm: Ylinka Barotto, Assistant Curator
Wednesday, August 23, 12 pm: Vivien Greene, Senior Curator, 19th- and Early 20th-Century Art, and curator for Mystical Symbolism

Mind’s Eye
Wednesday, September 13, 2 pm
Explore the exhibition with a gallery tour and workshop for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Mind’s Eye tours are conducted by arts and education professionals through verbal description, conversation, sensory experiences, and creative practice. Free. RSVP required one week prior to program date. To RSVP or for more information, visit guggenheim.org/mindseye.

September 26 at 7 pm through September 27 at 1 pm
This durational concert presents Erik Satie’s Vexations (1893). Satie composed this iconic piece on the heels of breaking off his involvement with the Salon de la Rose+Croix. It is unknown whether Satie intended for the work to be played or if it were simply a sort of jest directed at the esoteric excesses of Joséphin Péladan, the founder of the Salon. But the unlikely piece attracted the attention of John Cage, who first staged it. Cage organized a concert in New York in 1963 featuring contemporary musicians such as John Cale, James Tenney, David Tudor, and Christian Wolff. Observing one of Satie’s “instructions” literally, the score was repeated 840 times (the performance lasted almost 19 hours), in an unprecedented serial undertaking that echoed the Minimalist and Conceptual concerns of the 1960s. More than 50 years later, the Guggenheim will once again present Vexations to a New York audience. The Guggenheim presentation will feature a roster of established and emerging pianists from both classical and avant-garde spheres, including Timo Andres, Philip Corner, Sylvie Courvoisier, Karl Larson, Anne Queffélec, Joshua Rifkin, and Margaret Leng Tan. A full list of performers and schedule will be announced in September.



from June 30, 2017 to October 04, 2017

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