Civil War

Edouard Manet French
Publisher Lemercier & Cie. French
Printer Lemercier & Cie. French

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After serving in the National Guard during the Siege of Paris, Manet remained outside the city for most of the Commune but returned to witness the atrocities of its violent suppression in late May 1871. According to his friend Théodore Duret, he based this lithograph on a sketch made from life near the Madeleine Church, the site of one of the first massacres of Communards by Versailles government troops. The dead National Guardsman lying beside the barricade stands for one of many, while the pinstriped pant legs in the right corner refer to additional civilian casualties. Manet’s animated use of the lithographic medium, which included employing the side of the crayon for broad strokes, as well as scratching into the greasy black marks, suggests that the dust has barely settled on this scene.

Civil War, Edouard Manet (French, Paris 1832–1883 Paris), Lithograph on chine collé; second state of two

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