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Season One ~ Salon des Refuses ~ 1862-1863.


The first season opens with three episodes, which play out in four straight days in September of 1862.  This “triptych” of episodes lays out the characters and plot lines that are presented in season one and the series as a whole.  These three episodes are complete and available for coverage and or reading.  The following is the projected general proposal for the rest of the season.  Episodes 4-6 follow a linear time line from November of 1862 through to March of 1863 and build toward the Salon of 1863 and the subsequent announcement of the Salon des Refuses.  Episode 7and 8 are reserved for the elaborate judging and execution of the Salon, the Salon des Refuses and the following public and critical response to it. 

Series Story Lines initiated in the first three episodes.

1. Edouard Manet, how his life, family and career provide the axis around which our story revolves.

2. The Studio Gleyre, where Renoir, Sisley, Bazille and Monet begin their struggles, learn the ropes and forge lifelong friendships.

3. The Cezanne and Zola story line, from childhood friends in Aix-en-Provence to meeting Pissarro at the Studio Suisse.

4. Emperor Louis Napoleon and the Baron George Haussmann and the renovation of Paris. How the largest urban renewal project in history to date played a vital role.

5.  How the Academy of Fine Arts (Beaux-Arts) , led by the Count de Nieuwerkerke, became a villainous institution looking to stamp out any vestige of impressionism.

Episode One ~ Beginning with Manet ~ Brief Summary

Episode one opens with a series of vignettes which immediately clue viewers into the world of The Refused: The struggle between the Salon and the artist, getting your work seen, access, the same struggle as today, is your work refused or accepted, wanted or held in contempt!

Next, the viewer is taken to an inauguration ceremony of a new boulevard built during the Great Work under the auspices of Baron Haussmann and Emperor Louis Napoleon. The scene acclimates the viewer to our place and time and introduces the viewer to Edouard Manet, Charles Baudelaire, Sisley, Renoir and others.


Opening Credits

In The Refused time-line, it is the morning after the boulevard inauguration scene in the teaser as the show begins with a breakfast scene which introduces the Manet family; Madame Eugenie Manet, sons Edouard, Eugene, Gustave, Uncle Edmond (Eugenie’s brother) and their maid Nadette.  The patriarch, Auguste Manet, is on his death bed before passing from the era’s most devastating killer, syphilis.  The Refused uses this breakfast scene as a springboard to introduce our other story lines as well as serving as a vehicle to get Edouard Manet’s back story told. 

First cut away is to the offices of the Prefect of Paris, George-Eugene Haussmann and introduces the viewer to the players and events surrounding the massive urban renewal project of the Second French Empire, which came to be known as the “Haussmannization” of Paris.  This was in many ways the raison d’ etre of Emperor Louis Napoleon and in The Refused plays a pivotal role in not only the structural, social and economic changes modernity was bringing about but also stands symbolically as a powerful metaphor for the "rebuilt" artistic and literary story lines in The Refused.


Next we cut away to what becomes the main antagonist of The Refused, the Academy des Beaux Arts led by the Count Alfred Emilien de Nieuwerkerke (The Comte or Count).  This plot line is introduced via a brief introduction by two of its primary players, Alexandre Cabanal and William Bouguereau, who are discussing changes to be made to submissions for the 1863 Salon, the Academies annual showcase of the best art in France.


Next, The Refused introduces two of the young artists that become vital players in this tale, Alfred Sisley and Pierre August Renoir.  We meet them at 23 and 21, respectively, as they are roommates and students at the academy of Charles Gleyre studying technique and learning the ropes of the Parisian art world.


Next up, The Refused finds Manet’s cohort, the poet and critic, Charles Baudelaire, in an opium den grappling with another day in the life of a brilliant bohemian writer.  Within minutes of one another, Baudelaire witnesses both a traumatic hallucination and an actual murder attempt to find himself needing the consolation of a glass of wine with his dear friend Manet.


Lastly, Manet visits his long time lover and soon to be wife Suzanne Leenhoff and their son Leon.  After a brief visit with Suzanne, he proceeds to his studio where he meets his favorite model Victorine Meurent and they begin to paint only to be interrupted by a disheveled Baudelaire.  The episode ends with Manet, Meurent and Baudelaire discussing the reasons behind Manet’s work as they stand staring at one of his masterpieces, Dejeuner sur L’herbs.

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