Visit Some of History’s Most Famous Literary Salons

This morning, we spotted a few gorgeous photographs of Coco Chanel’s book-filled salon over at Book Patrol, and it got us to thinking about that much-romanticized, often revived tradition of thinkers from centuries past: the literary salon. For your daydreaming pleasure, we’ve collected a few paintings and photographs of famous literary salons from the 1600s to the 1970s.



Coco Channel’s arts and literary salon. See more images at Book Patrol.


Natalie Clifford Barney’s famous literary salon at 20 rue Jacob, Paris. Photos via.


A 1755 reading of Voltaire’s The Orphan of China: A Tragedy at Madame Geoffrin’s famed Paris literary salon, immortalized by Anicet Charles Gabriel Lemonnier in 1812. Image via.


François Hippolythe Debon’s 1863 painting of Antoine Godeau reading at Madame de Rambouillet’s literary salon at the Hôtel de Rambouillet. Image via.


Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in their legendary Paris salon. Photo via.


Molière reading Tartuffe at the literary salon of Anne “Ninon” de Lenclos in the 1660s, as depicted by Nicolas-André Monsiau in 1802. Image via.


Barbara Deming, Erika Duncan, Adrienne Rich, and Gloria Orenstein at a New York Women’s Salon in the ’70s. Photo via.


Henri Fantin-Latour’s By the Table, one of the four large group portraits the artist painted of his contemporaries at Parisian salons in the late 1800s. In this one, depicting a salon in 1872, Verlaine and Rimbaud are hanging out on the left. Image via.