Bridge at Argenteuil, 1871 photo.

But as the Boime reader discovers in Art in the age of civil Struggle, this is how the bridge looked like in 1871 when French troops destroyed it while retreating from the Prussian army. The inhabitants of this industrialized town had suffered greatly only two years before Monet’s idyllic rendition of the restored bridge. Were the Impressionists oblivious to the realities of their time, or was the movement sponsored as a propaganda scheme to restore spirits in a post-struggle population. In the former case Beauty is missing wisdom and compassion, and in the latter case it is missing sincerity. The magazine Reveue de l’Art says, “Henceforth it will be impossible to treat the question of the origins of Impressionism without making reference to [Boime's] work...”

Paintings by Kamran Khavarani