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The execution by firing squad in 1867 of Maximilian, the puppet emperor installed in Mexico by Napoleon III, was to have far-reaching implications, shattering the international prestige of France and hastening the collapse of the Second Empire. For Edouard Manet, already known in Paris as a non-conformist painter, this tragic event led to a surge of anti-imperial sentiment in his work, causing him to be labeled politically dangerous as well as artistically subversive. In this richly illustrated book, Juliet Wilson-Bareau reveals in Manet's paintings a political side little known to general admirers of impressionist art. Not only does she discuss the circumstances in which Manet painted his three large versions of The Execution of Maximilian, often seen as an isolated outburst of political feeling, but she also shows that many of his most familiar works from the 1860s take issue with contemporary events. Drawing from eyewitness accounts and newspaper reports, Wilson-Bareau examines possible sources for the paintings and the development of Manet's imagery. Douglas Johnson's historical account of the French intervention in Mexico, and John House's discussion of Salon painting in the 1860s, place Manet's choice of subject and style in a broad context of political and artistic opposition to Napoleon III. Inspired by an exhibition at the National Gallery in London, this book presents Manet's paintings alongside related drawings, sketches, prints, and photographs.