Renovation of Paris/Industrialization
- Paris was renovated between 1853 and 1870 under Emperor Napoleon III. Baron Haussmann, laid the plans, tearing down old buildings to create more open space for a cleaner, safer city. Also contributing to its new look was the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), which required reconstructing the parts of the city that had been destroyed. Most Impressionists painted the renovated city, employing their new style to depict its wide boulevards, public gardens, and grand buildings. While some artists focused on the cityscapes, others turned their focus to the city's inhabitants.
- The Paris population increase after the Franco-Prussian War gave the artists a large amount of material for their scenes of urban life. Characteristic of these scenes was the mixing of social classes that took place in public settings and focused on the working class and privileged classes.
- Following the 1840s, industrialization of France created an atmosphere for the rise of the working class. The change in powers between the merchant class and the industrial class resulted in the appearance of urbanization in cities and towns. The Le Creusot, a commune in Paris went from a population of 9,000 to 25,000 and because of that, in Paris the working class now made up to two francs a day for thirteen hours, which was nothing they could live with. The working class soon tried to organize unions which would lead to bloody battles with the government. Although the classes were suffering, such artists like Monet and Van Gogh made the people strong and hopeful in order for them to get through hard times they were facing.
***The Siege of Paris was a key battle of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871).