Paris, 1871

The Paris Commune was a revolutionary socialist regime against the French government that seized power for three months, 18 March – 28 May 1871.

Erected by Napoleon to celebrate French military victories, the Vendôme Column was considered a “symbol of brutal force and false glory” by the Paris Commune, and the famous painter Gustave Courbet proposed it should be take down. Before a great crowd on 16 May 1871, quarry workers with ropes pulled it to the ground. In this image, Courbet who worked with the Commune is the ninth figure from the right.

Sam Durant, Paris, 1871, (2018) Graphite on paper, 143.5 x 189.5 cm. © Sam Durant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo, Photo: Makenzie Goodman