Abandoned by the French government that crowned him and sent him to Mexico, the Emperor Maximilian was executed by a firing squad of Benito Juárez's army at Querétaro, north of Mexico City, on June 19, 1867. News of the execution reached Paris on July 1, just as Napoleon III was inaugurating that year's Universal Exposition. Édouard Manet set to work almost immediately, and by early 1869 he had completed a series of four paintings and one lithograph of the subject. Manet and the Execution of Maximilian unites several of these works for the first time in the United States, with selected additional works that examine the evolution from one painting to the next, which was fuelled by a steady stream of written and graphic accounts of the event. The exhibition is accompanied by education programs and a fully illustrated catalogue.
Organized by John Elderfield, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture.
Major support for the exhibition is provided by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
The publication is made possible by the Nancy Lee and Perry Bass Publications Endowment Fund.
Additional funding is provided by David Teiger, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Sarah-Ann and Werner H. Kramarsky, and the Mex-Am Cultural Foundation, Inc.
Manet and the Execution of Maximilian: Representing Politics and the Spectacle of War
Captivated by the politics of colonialism and war, Edouard Manet depicted the execution of the Emperor Maximilian in a series of paintings and lithographs from 1867 to 1869. In this panel discussion, scholars and artists discuss the legacy of Manet's representation of politics and war through painting and historical documentation. Panelists include artists Sue Coe, Gilles Peress, Yinka Shonibare, and Krzysztof Wodiczko; Philip Gourevitch, editor, The Paris Review, and author of We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda (1998); and moderated by Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Associate Professor, European Art since 1700, University of California, Berkeley.
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