Guerre Civile (Civil War), 1871 (published 1874)

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Edouard Manet's Guerre Civile portrays the tragic aftermath of a street battle between local National Guard militiamen and troops of the provisional national government during the 1871 siege of Paris. Prussia's decisive victory over Napoleon III during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) led to the formation of the Paris Commune, a worker-dominated anti-royalist city government whose principal aim was to re-establish France as a democratic republic. One of a pair of lithographs Manet made of the subject, the graphic scene is not imaginary, but is based on a sketch he made on the spot. Though he was not a member of the Commune, Manet was sympathetic to the group's political cause, which is made clear in this vivid depiction of dead National Guardsmen lying behind a demolished barricade. The short-lived Commune was eventually crushed by national army troops at a cost of 30,000 workers' lives.

Guerre Civile (Civil War)
Artist Life
1832 - 1883
Accession Number
Phillip Winston Pillsbury, Wayzata, Minn.; given to MIA, 1959.
Catalogue Raisonne
M-N 81 II; MG 75; H 72 ii/ii
Curator Approved

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