Grand Curtius: La Commune, Paris 1871. Liège 1886.


The Commune is a citizen and popular movement in Paris between March 18 and May 28, 1871. For 72 days, La Commune, elected by universal suffrage, conceives a new form of state based on the daily intervention of the people. This experience ended in an extremely violent manner.

The amount of images that document the Paris Commune is substantial. The prohibitions and institutional censorship that followed this revolutionary episode also had repercussions on the interpretation of the images and representations that were drawn from it and that have come down to us. No revolution has had such a complex relationship with its images and representations as the Paris Commune.

La Commune is one of the first major events in French history to have been extensively photographed. A multitude of photographs have been produced which portray the events in a different way from the much more partisan drawings and engravings of the time. The vision offered by the photograph of the Municipality is still limited by technical constraints. It is also the first time that the authorities will use the photograph for legal purposes. This section of the exhibition is illustrated in particular by photographs and documents from the rich collection of Jessy and Ronny Van de Velde, Antwerp. It also presents caricatures, posters and documents relating the events of 1871.

As part of the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the exhibition aims to highlight the emancipatory ideas of the Commune through three unique approaches: women, the Commune in images and the events of 1886 in Liège.

Catalog of the collection Jessy and Ronny Van de Velde

Jessy Van de Velde (dir.), La Commune Paris – Parijs 1871, Cahiers du Rossaert (Ronny Van de Velde nv) and LUDION, Gand, 2021, 224p.

Along with the exhibition at the Grand Curtius Museum, a richly illustrated catalog of the collection of Jessy and Ronny Van de Velde is published.

Xavier Canonne, director of the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi, introduces the work through a historical approach in which he recounts in detail the battlefield and the barricades erected by the inhabitants of the City of Light.

Theun Vonckx, curator of the exhibition, highlights the role played by women. His article also discusses the role of the few Antwerp Communards and the publication of the Brussels publisher Henry Kistemaeckers.

On sale at the Grand Curtius store – PAF: 40 €.

The Municipality. Paris 1871. Liège 1886.

From April 30, 2021 to July 25, 2021

Grand Curtius

Palais Curtius F̩ronstr̩e, 136 Р4000 Li̬ge


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