They could all be found in Chamonix this past April!
Since 2011, Salon has been something I have wanted to be a part of and for one reason or another I wasn’t able to participate. The stars came into alignment and I was able to travel to Chamonx which is located in the French Alps, at the base of Mont Blanc which the tallest peak in the Alps, and in Europe.
To give you a little history, I was first introduced to Salon when it was hosted in Atlanta in 2011 where I attended as a guest. When I visited Salon in Atlanta I was amazed at the breadth of talent that was on display. Members traveled from across the globe to in order to come together in the name of decorative art. Members have expertise in the traditional decorative arts such as faux marbre (marbleizing) faux bois (woodgraining), gilding, trompe l'oeil, and ornamentation. Since Atlanta, it has been hosted in Hamburg, Germany, Tokyo, Lecce Italy, St. Petersburg, Seattle, New York, and Leeuwarden Netherlands.
Salon is a gathering of dedicated decorative painters from around the world coming together to exhibit their work and discuss old and new techniques, products, and information in the field. Every year it is hosted by a different member in that person's country.
Participants of The Salon include teachers from schools as well as those who are independent commercial craftspeople. The Salon is a way for some of the most unique traditions within the field of decorative arts to be shared amongst one another and ultimately, passed onto participants’ students. The opportunity enhances and extends the level of communication between serious and committed craftsmen.
The Salon is also a way for visitors and the outside public to experience the high quality of work present and meet the real masters of this craft. Ongoing demonstrations and an exhibit hall allow visitors and participants to view works specifically created for The Salon. The Salon is now recognized as the most important and significant gathering of decorative painters in the world.
This year’s host was Pascal Amblard who is one of the most world renowned muralists in our field. He and his family put together a beautiful Salon which included lectures, demonstrations, a common mural that was completed and donated to the city of Chamonix, gourmet meals, and several excursions to both natural and painted wonders.
Our opening dinner was located in a traditional restaurant where we were treated to fondue- which I had never tried before! We had views of Mont Blanc everywhere we turned, and we were able to take a cable car up to the Aguille du Midi which is the highest point that “pedestrians” can visit without crampons or climbing gear!
Exhibition days were relaxed and it was easy to enjoy a conversation with friends or watch fellow artists demonstrating a skill. Evenings were spent having cocktails and dining at one of the many delicious restaurants. Our closing dinner was filled with the traditions of Salon including the ceremonial signing of the declaration for next year’s salon, (which will be in Shanghai,) singing, and dancing.
Post salon included a visit to the Mer de Glace which is the largest glacier in France and once touched the base of the valley in the 18th century. Now you can barely see the ice peeking around the corner. The following day I travelled back to Geneva due to an early flight but the rest of the group visited Gruyieres Switzerland for more art and culture. Please visit the Salon Chamonix facebook page for photos
The best way to share my experience is visually so please enjoy the following galleries which includes photos of the venue, the town of Chamonix, exhibition panels, dinners, and all the fun we had. My sincerest gratitude to the Amblard family and their friends who executed an absolutely perfect Salon. Merci Beaucoup!
The first few days-
Views of the ride into the valley, the town of Chamonix and Saint Michel, and setting up the venue.
Opening dinner with fondue and a full moon
Salon in Full Swing!
Demonstrations, lectures, and the common mural.
The Exhibition Panels
Taking the cable car up to the Aguille du Midi where we could get close to Mont Blanc.
We saw goats on the mountain on our way up!! Backcountry skiers gear up with crampons and ice axes before tying in to hike out onto the mountain!
Mer de Glace
Without a plan, I took the bus from my hotel and wandered around. Serendipitously I ran into fellow Salon artist, Evan!