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Leisure’s Utmost

Andrew Forge, 30 March 1989

Art and Politics of the Second Empire: The Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867 
by Patricia Mainardi.
Yale, 288 pp., £30, September 1987, 0 300 03871 2
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Impressionism: Art, Leisure and Parisian Society 
by Robert Herbert.
Yale, 324 pp., £24.95, September 1988, 0 300 04262 0
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... books look at aspects of painting during the Second Empire from a sociological point of view. Patricia Mainardi takes the two Universal Expositions of 1855 and 1867 as the markers of a crucial change, the shift of taste that set the stage for modern painting. History painting, the highest form of the art was on the way out. Writers of the left were ...

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