Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints



View Cart
Shop Main Online Store

About the Artwork

Manet's interests in the sea and in painting subjects from modern life are perfectly joined in this rendering of an important naval battle of the American Civil War that occurred off the French coast. In June 1864, the Alabama, a raider outfitted by the Confederate government, ducked into the harbor at Cherbourg on the north coast of France to release prisoners and take on coal. Eight days later, when she emerged from the harbor, the Union ship the Kearsarge was waiting outside in international waters. The two ships circled one another, firing shots for over an hour until the Alabama was hit and began to sink stern-first. Manet did not witness the engagement but read about it in the newspapers, and a month later he exhibited this picture in the window of a Paris gallery. Three-quarters water, the painting uses a high horizon line and lurching perspective to suggest the chaotic aftermath of the battle. The two protagonists are clustered at the top, enshrouded in a cloud of smoke, while at the center of the picture, a heaving turquoise, blue, and gray sea tosses sailors clinging to wreckage and crashes against a local pilot boat racing to rescue them and others abandoning the sinking Alabama. Jennifer A. Thompson, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 50

Popular Images

About Our Prints

Philadelphia Museum of Art Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Hand-made in the USA using gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering so make sure to come back and see the new releases.
You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

As always, members will receive their discount for all transactions processed through our Custom Prints store. Simply enter your Member ID during the checkout process and your discount will be applied.