Toledo Museum Home

Prints and Authors in the Time of Manet

Maxime Lalanne
French, 1827–1886

Demolition for the Creation of the Boulevard Saint-Germain (Démolitions pour le percement du Boulevard Saint-Germain)

Etching, 1863
Gift of Carl B. Spitzer, 1938.75

Between 1852 and 1870, Paris underwent what is referred to as the Haussmann Renovations. Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann was commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III to create a new city plan for Paris as well as a new architectural style. Many buildings dating as far back as the Middle Ages, mostly housing the working class and poor, were torn down to clear the city center. Maxime Lalanne’s print represents a time of tremendous change in the history of Paris, but whereas many artists, architects, and writers criticized the political motivations of the renovations, Lalanne’s own opinions remain unclear. He simply documents the destruction of medieval Paris as the city’s new wide boulevards are built.