Portraits, Inc. Hosts Salon 2019

We recently held the Portraits, Inc. Salon in Nashville. This highly-anticipated, three-day gathering of our artists and sales associates from around the country is always the highlight of our year. A salon is defined as "a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation." The word originates from the Salon de Paris, which began in 1667 and was the official art exhibition of the French Royal Academy (Académie des Beaux-Arts). The Salons were grand social occasions that attracted the leading intellectuals of the day. Exhibiting at the Salon was considered absolutely critical to an artist's success and a sign of royal favor. When the Salons were later moved to the Palace of the Louvre and opened to the public, this established the idea that art should be enjoyed by and accessible to all. Over the centuries, salons spread outside of France and began representing any gathering of people for the purpose of conversation and education. Gertrude Stein famously hosted a Saturday evening salon, which included such notables as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.


With the historical salons as our inspiration, we spent a wonderful few days learning more about portraiture through presentations, panel discussions, collaborative breakout sessions, and, of course, informal conversations had over delicious meals and drinks. The first day culminated in our annual ArtWalk competition, in which the new portrait samples for the year are viewed and voted on in a special exhibition. Prizes are awarded for Best of Show, 2nd Place, and People’s Choice. This year, Best of Show went to Mary Morvant, Second Place went to Carter Laney, and People's Choice went to Jennifer Welty. Presenters at this year’s Salon included artist Mary Whyte, Michael Shane Neal, Dan Monroe of Cayenne Creative, and Jonathan M. Linton. A highlight of the second day was the “Dueling Brushes” painting demonstrations, in which the audience watched as five artists simultaneously painted or sculpted from two models. It is always so inspiring to watch our artists as they work from life!


The second day ended with an authentic Nashville barbecue at the home of artist Michael Shane Neal. Even the drizzly weather could not put a damper on this incredible evening! After the meal, guests were treated to a special portrait demonstration in Neal’s studio with artist Paul Wyse as subject. Neal’s masterful storytelling is matched only by his portrait painting, so you can imagine what a special evening this was! Salon 2019 wrapped the following day with a farewell breakfast and two excursions to a local museum and gallery. Please check out our Facebook album for more pictures of the various events. It was certainly a Salon to remember!