When was the first art exhibition held?
The first ART EXHIBITION was held by the Academic de Peinture et de Sculpture at the Palais-Royale in Paris, from 9 to 23 April 1667. They were continued biennially, though after 1671 the exhibition was usually held in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre, then a royal palace.
In Britain the Annual Exhibition of United Artists was held under the auspices of the Society of Arts at their room in the Strand 21 April-8 May 1760. Although the artists had intended to charge an admission fee of I s, the Society rejected this proposal, and instead 6,582 catalogues were sold at 6d each. There were 130 exhibits, and the 69 artists represented included Sir Joshua Reynolds, Richard Wilson and Paul Sandby. An attempt was made to keep out undesirable, defined by the Society as ‘livery servants, foot soldiers, porters, women with children etc’, but this does not seem to have been wholly successful. The artists complained of ‘the intrusion of persons whose stations and educations disqualified them for judging of statuary and painting, and who were made idle and tumultuous by the opportunity of attending the show’. The nature of this art show hooliganism can only be guessed at by an entry in the accounts for 13s 6d for ‘windows broke’.
Following this venture, the first public exhibition of any kind held in Britain, a number of the more distinguished artists formed themselves into The Society of Artists of Great Britain and held a separate exhibition at Spring Gardens, Charing Cross in 1761. The following year the Society arranged the first exhibition in Britain at which a charge for admission (1 s) was made—presumably to price out the kind of art lovers prone to breaking windows—and the first at which all the paintings on display were for sale.
The first Exhibition of children’s art in Britain was held annually by the London School Board commencing in 877.