War and Insurrection (32) - Return to ParisEnd May 1870, Renoir managed to take refuge in Louveciennes during the brief government of the Paris Commune. Only two months later, the Communards were defeated by the government troops led by Marshal Patrice de MacMahon. By a conservative estimate 20.000 Parisians lost their lives in the streets.In June, Renoir returned to Paris and took a room in the rue Dragon, near the apartment of the musician, art collector and arts patron Edmond Maître. Perhaps this little portrait of the relaxing and reading Maître was the first oil that Renoir made after his return. 
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait d’Edmond Maître ou Le liseur (Portrait of Edmond Maître or The Reader), 1871. Oil on canvas, 22.2 x 28.9 cm. Private collection. 

War and Insurrection (32) - Return to Paris
End May 1870, Renoir managed to take refuge in Louveciennes during the brief government of the Paris Commune. Only two months later, the Communards were defeated by the government troops led by Marshal Patrice de MacMahon. By a conservative estimate 20.000 Parisians lost their lives in the streets.
In June, Renoir returned to Paris and took a room in the rue Dragon, near the apartment of the musician, art collector and arts patron Edmond Maître. Perhaps this little portrait of the relaxing and reading Maître was the first oil that Renoir made after his return. 

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait d’Edmond Maître ou Le liseur (Portrait of Edmond Maître or The Reader), 1871. Oil on canvas, 22.2 x 28.9 cm. Private collection. 

War and Insurrection (31) - Return to Paris
1 June 1871, Edgar Degas returned to Paris. Since the end of the war, he had been staying with the Valpinçons at their château in Ménil-Hubert-sur-Orne, Normandy. Paul Valpinçon was a lifelong friend of his, and a cousin of Gustave Caillebotte, which explains how Degas and Caillebotte met each other. Through Valpinçon, Degas also met Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a neo-classical painter whom he worshiped, archconservative as he once was. 
Back in Paris, any influence that Ingres may have had on Degas’ work was fading away quickly. Look at one of the first works that he made after his return: the study of “Count Lépic and his daughters”. It has al the freshness of a first impression. A few years later, Lépic and his daughters appeared on “Place de la Concorde”. Any influence of Ingres has totally disappeared.

By the way, this Count Lépic, a ballet aficionado, may well have helped Degas to gain access to the backstage areas of the Rue Le Peletier Opéra, where he could see the ballerinas at work, whom he would so often paint and sculpt.

Edgar Degas, Vicomte Lépic et ses filles (Count Lépic and his daughters), c.1871. Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm. Stiftung Sammlung E.G. Bührle, Zürich, Switzerland
Edgar Degas, Place de la Concorde, 1875. Oil on canvas, 78.4 x 117.5 cm. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

War and Insurrection (30) - Return to ParisLate June, the Pissarro’s returned from London to a scene of horror. Their house in Louveciennes was filthy beyond belief. Almost 1500 paintings had been used for all kind of purposes, and were destroyed in the process. Julie started to put the house in order, while Camille feverishly started painting scenes in the Louveciennes and Marly area again.
Camille Pissarro, Rue de Voisins, 1871. Oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm. Manchester City Galleries, Manchester, UK

War and Insurrection (30) - Return to Paris
Late June, the Pissarro’s returned from London to a scene of horror. Their house in Louveciennes was filthy beyond belief. Almost 1500 paintings had been used for all kind of purposes, and were destroyed in the process. Julie started to put the house in order, while Camille feverishly started painting scenes in the Louveciennes and Marly area again.

Camille Pissarro, Rue de Voisins, 1871. Oil on canvas, 46 x 55.5 cm. Manchester City Galleries, Manchester, UK

War and Insurrection (29) - Return to ParisSome sources say Manet returned to Paris during the Week of Blood (22-28 May 1871). Other sources claim that he only arrived in the beginning of June. I tend to believe this second version, because his litho and drawing “Guerre civile” and “La barricade” look more inspired by older paintings than by actual street scenes. Anyway, Manet was genuinely shocked by what he saw and to my knowledge, he is the only one of the core group of impressionists that actually depicted the horror.Manet could only rescue a limited number of paintings from his destroyed studio in the rue Guyot. His most treasured works were safe however: he had stored Le Balcon, Olympia, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe and nine other works in the cellar of the art critic Théodore Duarte on the Rue des Capucines.
Edouard Manet, L’explosion, 1871. Oil on canvas, 37.5 x 45.5 cm. Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany.

War and Insurrection (29) - Return to Paris
Some sources say Manet returned to Paris during the Week of Blood (22-28 May 1871). Other sources claim that he only arrived in the beginning of June. I tend to believe this second version, because his litho and drawing “Guerre civile” and “La barricade” look more inspired by older paintings than by actual street scenes. Anyway, Manet was genuinely shocked by what he saw and to my knowledge, he is the only one of the core group of impressionists that actually depicted the horror.
Manet could only rescue a limited number of paintings from his destroyed studio in the rue Guyot. His most treasured works were safe however: he had stored Le BalconOlympia, Le déjeuner sur l’herbe and nine other works in the cellar of the art critic Théodore Duarte on the Rue des Capucines.

Edouard Manet, L’explosion, 1871. Oil on canvas, 37.5 x 45.5 cm. Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany.

War and Insurrection (28)When Manet returned to Paris in the beginning of June 1871, right after the so-called “Semaine sanglante” (the Week of Blood” of 22-28 March), he was shocked and grieved by what he saw.He made this “Civil War”, showing 2 victims shot down behind a barricade. The central figure, presumably a national guardsman, still carries the white flag of surrender that couldn’t save him from the ruthless wrath of the “Versailles army” led by Maréchal Patrice de Mac-Mahon. Between twenty or thirty thousand communards were executed by his troops, another forty thousand were taken prisoner. Mac-Mahon was elected French president immediately thereafter.This lithograph was banned by the censorship. It could only be published three years later. By that time, the discontentment with Mac-Mahon’s government had grown so big that feelings of sympathy with those that had fallen for the Commune could again be shown and discussed.
Edouard Manet, Guerre civile (Civil War - Scene from the Paris Commune), 1871. Lithograph, 39.5 x 50.5 cm. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick ME, USA

War and Insurrection (28)
When Manet returned to Paris in the beginning of June 1871, right after the so-called “Semaine sanglante” (the Week of Blood” of 22-28 March), he was shocked and grieved by what he saw.
He made this “Civil War”, showing 2 victims shot down behind a barricade. The central figure, presumably a national guardsman, still carries the white flag of surrender that couldn’t save him from the ruthless wrath of the “Versailles army” led by Maréchal Patrice de Mac-Mahon. Between twenty or thirty thousand communards were executed by his troops, another forty thousand were taken prisoner. Mac-Mahon was elected French president immediately thereafter.

This lithograph was banned by the censorship. It could only be published three years later. By that time, the discontentment with Mac-Mahon’s government had grown so big that feelings of sympathy with those that had fallen for the Commune could again be shown and discussed.

Edouard Manet, Guerre civile (Civil War - Scene from the Paris Commune), 1871. Lithograph, 39.5 x 50.5 cmBowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick ME, USA

War and Insurrection (27)
Manet returned to Paris early June 1871. The insurrection of the Commune had just been crushed during the Week of Blood (22-28 March) and had ended in a massacre. 20.000 to 30.000 Communards were executed on the spot.
Manet’s drawing and litho that depict this tragedy are not reflections of what he may actually never have seen. Clearly his first version of the "Execution of Emperor Maximilian" (1867) was used as a model.   

Edouard Manet, La barricade (The Barricade or Civil War), 1871. Ink, wash and watercolor on paper, 46.2 x 32.5 cm. Szépmüveszéti  Museum, Budapest, Hungary.
Edouard Manet, La barricade (The Barricade), 1871. Litho, 46.5 x 33.4 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Edouard Manet, L’exécution de Maximilien (The Execution of Emperor Maximilian), 1867. Oil on canvas, 195.9 x 259.7 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

War and Insurrection (26)There’s a story going around that Renoir just escaped being killed shortly after his return to Paris in early May 1871. In short, the tale goes like this:Renoir had set up his easel on the banks of the Seine and started working. A group of National Guards came along and watched what he was doing. They thought he was probably drawing a plan of the area to inform the enemy and hauled him off to the city to be executed as a spy by a firing squad. At the very latest moment Renoir managed to attract the attention of Raoul Rigaud, a former republican journalist who had been hunted down by the authorities and whom Renoir had saved. Rigaud was now the Head of Police of the revolutionary government (the “Commune”) and immediately rushed forward to greet Renoir. The poor painter was immediately released by the stunned guards.This story can be read in different places with varying amounts of detail and drama, but I find it hard to believe.What really happened, I guess, is what Georges Rivière wrote in 1921, in his book “Renoir et ses amies”. Rivière was a close friend of Renoir and they have known each other for almost half a century. Therefore we can assume that he got it straight from Renoir himself.Here’s what Renoir himself told his friend:After his army duty Renoir had returned and like most Parisians was surprised by the Insurrection of 18 March 1871. The forced conscription imposed by the Commune (the revolutionary government) put him in an awkward position. He wanted to leave Paris, but needed a pass issued by Raoul Rigaud, Head of Police of the Commune. Renoir and Rigaud knew each other before the war.  When Renoir went to the police headquarters to meet Rigaud, he had to go through several rooms with armed national guards, some yelling, some drunk, who made it very difficult for him to finally enter the office where the important Commune official was surrounded with officers . But Rigaud received him in a very friendly manner and gave him the needed pass without hesitation. He even warned Renoir not to show it to “those of the Versailles army”.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Seine à Chatou (The Seine in Chatou), 1871. Oil on canvas, 45.7 × 55.9 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

War and Insurrection (26)
There’s a story going around that Renoir just escaped being killed shortly after his return to Paris in early May 1871. In short, the tale goes like this:
Renoir had set up his easel on the banks of the Seine and started working. A group of National Guards came along and watched what he was doing. They thought he was probably drawing a plan of the area to inform the enemy and hauled him off to the city to be executed as a spy by a firing squad. At the very latest moment Renoir managed to attract the attention of Raoul Rigaud, a former republican journalist who had been hunted down by the authorities and whom Renoir had saved. Rigaud was now the Head of Police of the revolutionary government (the “Commune”) and immediately rushed forward to greet Renoir. The poor painter was immediately released by the stunned guards.

This story can be read in different places with varying amounts of detail and drama, but I find it hard to believe.
What really happened, I guess, is what Georges Rivière wrote in 1921, in his book “Renoir et ses amies”. Rivière was a close friend of Renoir and they have known each other for almost half a century. Therefore we can assume that he got it straight from Renoir himself.
Here’s what Renoir himself told his friend:
After his army duty Renoir had returned and like most Parisians was surprised by the Insurrection of 18 March 1871. The forced conscription imposed by the Commune (the revolutionary government) put him in an awkward position. He wanted to leave Paris, but needed a pass issued by Raoul Rigaud, Head of Police of the Commune. Renoir and Rigaud knew each other before the war.  When Renoir went to the police headquarters to meet Rigaud, he had to go through several rooms with armed national guards, some yelling, some drunk, who made it very difficult for him to finally enter the office where the important Commune official was surrounded with officers . But Rigaud received him in a very friendly manner and gave him the needed pass without hesitation. He even warned Renoir not to show it to “those of the Versailles army”.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, La Seine à Chatou (The Seine in Chatou), 1871. Oil on canvas, 45.7 × 55.9 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

War and Insurrection (25)As soon as the Versailles armistice was signed, many must have hoped for more peaceful times to come. After months of siege, bombardment, fighting, famine and winter conditions, Parisians could finally leave the town. So did Manet and Degas.Morisot stayed until early May and then joined her sister Edma in Cherbourg. Of the core group of impressionists, she has been the only one to witness at least part of the days of the Insurrection. Paris was under siege again, almost surrounded by the better equipped French army. Barricades had been put up all over Paris to defend the city against the government troops.
A bit of history in a nutshell (2)When the French army was defeated by the Prussians and Napoleon III abdicated, the remaining government formed the so-called Third Republic. It took several months and several rounds of peace negotiations before an armistice was signed in Versailles on 18 January 1871.But the treaty didn’t bring peace to Paris. For some time, revolutionary civilians and workers had been striving for far reaching changes. They installed a revolutionary government, the “Commune” on 18 March. The French government however still controlled the army and ordered Maréchal Patrice de Mac-Mahon to recapture the city. Again Paris was under siege.With the above pamphlet the Communards tried to convince the soldiers of the Versailles army to choose their side.

War and Insurrection (25)
As soon as the Versailles armistice was signed, many must have hoped for more peaceful times to come. After months of siege, bombardment, fighting, famine and winter conditions, Parisians could finally leave the town. So did Manet and Degas.
Morisot stayed until early May and then joined her sister Edma in Cherbourg. Of the core group of impressionists, she has been the only one to witness at least part of the days of the Insurrection. Paris was under siege again, almost surrounded by the better equipped French army. Barricades had been put up all over Paris to defend the city against the government troops.

A bit of history in a nutshell (2)
When the French army was defeated by the Prussians and Napoleon III abdicated, the remaining government formed the so-called Third Republic. It took several months and several rounds of peace negotiations before an armistice was signed in Versailles on 18 January 1871.
But the treaty didn’t bring peace to Paris. For some time, revolutionary civilians and workers had been striving for far reaching changes. They installed a revolutionary government, the “Commune” on 18 March. The French government however still controlled the army and ordered Maréchal Patrice de Mac-Mahon to recapture the city. Again Paris was under siege.

With the above 
pamphlet the Communards tried to convince the soldiers of the Versailles army to choose their side.

War and Insurrection (24)After the War, Manet travelled to the south of France to join his mother, wife and her son. A few weeks later, the Manet family moved to Arcachon, where they stayed all month. This peaceful work was painted there, perhaps at the same crucial moment that the Revolutionary Government in Paris proclaimed the Commune on 18 March. This Insurrection would cost the lives of another thirty thousands Parisians.
Edouard Manet, Intérieur à Arcachon (Interior at Arcachon), 1871. Oil on canvas, 39.4 x 53.7 cm. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA

War and Insurrection (24)
After the War, Manet travelled to the south of France to join his mother, wife and her son. A few weeks later, the Manet family moved to Arcachon, where they stayed all month. This peaceful work was painted there, perhaps at the same crucial moment that the Revolutionary Government in Paris proclaimed the Commune on 18 March. This Insurrection would cost the lives of another thirty thousands Parisians.

Edouard Manet, Intérieur à Arcachon (Interior at Arcachon), 1871. Oil on canvas, 39.4 x 53.7 cm. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, USA

War and Insurrection (23)This canvas could almost be a Hopper, isn’t it.We’re probably looking at Léon Koëlla-Leenhoff, the son of Manet’s wife, Suzanne. (We don’t know if Léon was Edouard Manet’s natural son or not. If he was, it is difficult to understand why Manet never legally recognised him as his son. Some say that Léon was the child Edouard Manet’s father had with Suzanne.)In September 1870, Manet had sent his mother, Suzanne and Léon to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the south of France, close to the French Pyrenees and far away from the war zone, while he himself stayed in Paris as the good patriot that he was. Five months later, after the armistice of 28 January 1871, Manet travelled to the small town to join them. 
Edouard Manet, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, 1871. Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 cm. Stiftung Bührle, Zürich

War and Insurrection (23)
This canvas could almost be a Hopper, isn’t it.
We’re probably looking at Léon Koëlla-Leenhoff, the son of Manet’s wife, Suzanne. (We don’t know if Léon was Edouard Manet’s natural son or not. If he was, it is difficult to understand why Manet never legally recognised him as his son. Some say that Léon was the child Edouard Manet’s father had with Suzanne.)
In September 1870, Manet had sent his mother, Suzanne and Léon to Oloron-Sainte-Marie in the south of France, close to the French Pyrenees and far away from the war zone, while he himself stayed in Paris as the good patriot that he was. Five months later, after the armistice of 28 January 1871, Manet travelled to the small town to join them. 

Edouard Manet, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, 1871. Oil on canvas, 40 x 60 cm. Stiftung Bührle, Zürich