Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (SNBA) was the term under which two groups of French artists united, the first for some exhibitions in the early 1860s, the second since 1890 for annual exhibitions.
Established in 1862, the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts was first chaired by the writer Théophile Gautier, with the painter Aimé Millet as deputy chairman. The committee was composed with the painters Eugène Delacroix, Carrier-Belleuse, Puvis de Chavannes and among the exhibitors were Léon Bonnat, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Charles-François Daubigny, Gustave Doré, Manet. In 1864, just after the death of Delacroix, the society organized a retrospective exhibition of 248 paintings and lithographs of this famous painter and step-uncle of the emperor - and ceased to mount further exhibitions.
In 1890, the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts was re-vitalised under the rule of Puvis de Chavannes, Ernest Meissonier, Carolus-Duran, Bracquemond and Carrier-Belleuse, and since then its annual exhibition was reviewed as the Salon de Champ-de-Mars, traditionally opening a fortnight later than the official Salon de Champs-Élysées, organised by the Société des artistes français.
The 19th century in French art is characterised by a continuous struggle between traditionally educated artists supported by official politics, and a growing rate of artists who preferred to work individually and at their own riscs. Reviewing the historical situation is difficult, even a century later. But evidently opponents to the official politics gained ground after the fall of the 2nd Empire, and were instrumental to redirect French cultural politics to liberal positions. Thus, the splitting-off of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1890 can be considered as the first Secessionist manifestation, at all.
A new way
After World War I, in 1926, the "Puvis de Chavannes" prize was created consisting in a retrospective exhibition of the main works of the prizewinning artists, in Paris. During the twenteenth century, this exhibition was located at the Grand Palais or the Musée d'Art Moderne.
Most famous awarded painters: 1941: Wilhem Van Hasselt, 1944: Jean Gabriel Domergue, 1952: Tristan Klingsor, 1955: Georges Delplanque, 1957: Albert Decaris, 1958: Jean Picard Le Doux, 1963: Maurice Boitel, 1966: Pierre Gaillardot, 1968: Pierre-Henry, 1969:Louis Vuillermoz, 1970: Daniel du Janerand, 1971: Jean-Pierre Alaux; 1975: Jean Monneret, 1987: André Hambourg.
During the last decades of the 20th century, after "living treasure" Takanori Oguiss, and during the rule of chairman François Baboulet, some of Japanese artists could exhibit their paintings as guests of the SNBA: Takaaki Matsuda, Katsufumi Toyota, Kazuko Kobayashi, Hideo Hando, Yoko Tsuishi and Noboru Sotoyama.