Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Salon de la Rose

This massive poster was designed to promote the first of six exhibits by the Rose + Croix group. Founded by the eccentric art critic and mystic Joséphin Péladan, the movement’s philosophy extolled the virtues of a quasi-religious idealism over realism. Based in the principles of Catholicism and a pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, the Rose + Croix’s imagery favored pale, elongated, virginal figures. In this example, a woman in white holding a candle or smoldering heart (symbolizing faith) ascends flower-strewed steps with a woman in dark blue holding a lily (symbolizing purity). Below their celestial advance, a nude figure in murky water remains tethered to the human world. The work’s oblique symbolism suggests Péladan’s occultist idea of art as “this initiatory rite to which only the predestined should be admitted.”

Emile Martin Charles Schwabe
Swiss (born Germany), 1866–1926
Salon de la Rose+Croix
Color lithograph on paper
Image: 68 x 29 7/8 in. (172.7 x 75.9 cm); sheet: 76 ¼ x 32in. (193.7 x 81.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. F. Reed Dickerson, 73.36.2