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The Battle of the USS "Kearsarge" and the CSS "Alabama"

1864
Édouard Manet, French, 1832 - 1883
Manet's first known seascape is an imaginative depiction of an American Civil War naval battle fought off the coast of France, near Cherbourg, on June 19, 1864. In the distance, the C.S.S. Alabama, a scourge of Union shipping, sinks by her stern, clouds of smoke arising from a direct hit to her engines by the U.S.S. Kearsarge, which is mostly obscured from view. This picture was first displayed in the window of Alfred Cadart's print shop in Paris in July 1864, demonstrating Manet's quick response to a sensational and recent news event....

Object Details
Purchased from the artist’s studio by Durand-Ruel (dealer), Paris, January 1872; sold to Jean-Baptiste Faure (1830–1914), Paris, November 17, 1873; probably sold to Ernest Hoschedé (1837–1891), January 23, 1877 [1]; his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, March 23, 1878, no. 32; purchased by Georges Charpentier (1846–1905); on deposit with Durand-Ruel, Paris, October 24, 1884–October 27, 1887. Théodore Duret (1838–1927), Paris; on deposit with Durand-Ruel, Paris, March 21, 1888; sold to Durand-Ruel, Paris, October 16, 1888; sold the same day to Durand-Ruel, New York; sold to John G. Johnson (1841–1917), Philadelphia, October 17, 1888 [2]; bequest to the City of Philadelphia, 1917.1. According to a pencil annotation in the stock books, Durand-Ruel Archives, Paris.2. For much of the preceding provenance, see Gary Tinterow and Henri Loyrette, Origins of Impressionism, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994), no. 99. See also a letter from Georges Durand-Ruel to Johnson, New York, October 15, 1888, in which the gallerist confirms that Johnson’s offer of $1,500 for the painting has been accepted and asks that Johnson arrange for a check in that amount to be delivered to the gallery (Correspondence, John G. Johnson Papers, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives, archives.philamuseum.org/jgj/JGJ_B004_F005_046).

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