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mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

The Barricade, 1871

André Victor Edouard Devambez

The Barricade, 1871 - André Victor Edouard Devambez

19th century
140cm × 107cm
Versailles, Versailles Palace
© ADAGP / RMN / Gérard Blot

View this work in the exhibition The Street

The artist

André Devambez (1867-1944) is an intriguing artist: a loner who shunned all those movements, schools and vanguards that lit up the early 20th century. He was fond of painting small- and medium-sized pictures filled with teeming crowd scenes (though he did produce a huge 6m x 3.5m canvas hung on the walls of the Sorbonne in Paris). Devambez drew inspiration from children's tales and sometimes allowed a hint of irony to creep into his genre works. His independent stance did not, however, deprive him of accolades: he was professor of fine arts and member of the Institut de France from 1930 onwards.

His most well-known work is still The Charge (1902-1903), which hangs in the Musée d'Orsay and shows the police rushing demonstrators on Boulevard Montmartre. The painting portrays a night scene offering a high-angle viewpoint reminiscent of Monet's Rue Montorgueil.

The Barricade, painted in 1911 and kept in the Versailles Palace, is a sort of genre painting reflecting the Paris Commune (with the Communards waiting at the foot of the barricade built out of street paving); the left-hand side of the picture again demonstrates the artist's penchant for crowd scenes.