© 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; used with permission
Fernand Léger (French, 1881-1955). The Smokers (Les Fumeurs), December 1911-January 1912. Oil on canvas. 129.2 x 96.5 cm (50 13/16 x 37 15/16 in.). Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection, By gift. 38.521. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

The Salon Cubists tended to follow the Picasso-Braque Early Cubism style through their exposure to this period of the two artists' work (1908 to 1910). They participated in public exhibitions (salons) as opposed to private galleries, such as the Salon d'Automne (the Autumn Salon) and the Salon des Indépendants (which occurred in the spring salon).

The Salon Cubists also organized their own exhibition entitled Le Section d'Or (The Golden Section) during the fall of 1912.

Important Salon Cubists

Henri Le Fauconnier (1881-1946) was their leader. Le Fauconnier emphasized clear, geometrically rendered figures integrating with the background. His work was easier to figure out and often displayed didactic symbolic content.

For example, ​Abundance (1910) features a nude woman strutting along with a platter of fruit on her head and little boy at her side. In the background, you can see a farm, a city and a boat sailing on calm water. Abundance celebrates French culture: fertility, beautiful women, beautiful children, tradition (the female nude), and the land.

Like Le Fauconnier, other Salon Cubists produced readable pictures with uplifting messages, inspiring the art historians' nickname "Epic Cubism."

Other Salon Cubists were Jean Metzinger (1883-1956), Albert Gleizes (1881-1953), Fernand Léger (1881-1955), Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), Juan Gris (1887-1927), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Raymond Duchamp-Villon (1876-1918), Jacques Villon (1875-1963) and Robert de la Fresnaye (1885-1925).

Because the Salon Cubists' work was more accessible to the public, their strong geometrical forms became associated with the look of Cubism, or what we call its "style." The Salon Cubists gladly accepted the label Cubism and used it to "brand" their controversial avant-garde art, inviting a whole host of press coverage - positive and negative.