L'Hôtel de Ville de Paris (incendié sous la Commune, mai 1871) [burned under the Commune, May 1871]
41 cm x 62 cm (16 1/8 in. x 24 7/16 in.)
(Saint-omer, France, 1828 – 1875, Paris, France)
(Montivilliers, 1832 - 1895?, Paris?)
Medium and Support:
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Alvin and Ethel Romansky, 1978
The Hôtel de Ville was headquarters to the Paris Commune, the short-lived government in place after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War. As Versailles troops approached the Communard stronghold to regain control of the city, the Commune set fire to the building.
Best known for his views of Paris, Saffrey documented the events of 1871 in a straightforward manner rather than providing political commentary. He broke with the academic tradition of idealizing or heroicizing war by providing a journalistic view of recent events.