The Last Moment of the Emperor Maximilian

This relief print from The Magazine of Art dramatically illustrates the final moments before the execution of the Mexican Emperor Maximilian I in 1867. An Austrian noble by birth, Maximilian was installed by Napoleon III of France. French forces had invaded Mexico in 1862, after President Benito Juárez suspended payments on its foreign debt. Despite a major victory by Mexican forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, the French seized control of large sections of Mexico, including the capital. Maximilian was initially supported by Mexican conservatives in a backlash against the changes instituted by the Mexican War of Reform (1857–1861). However, once on the throne, his support of a free press, open universities, land reform, and other progressive ideas of the day proved to be out of step with his conservative constituency and the Catholic Church. Menaced by the government of the United States, victorious after its own civil war, and the rising success of Mexican nationalist forces, the French withdrew their military support of Maximilian, the last emperor of Mexico. This historic image is one of 45,000 artistic and commercials prints housed in the Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History.
Currently not on view
Object Name
sheet (paper)
Object Type
Date made
ca 1890
graphic artist
Babbage, T.
Magazine of Art
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 17.7 cm x 24 cm; 6 15/16 in x 9 7/16 in
Place Made
United States: New York
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Cinco de Mayo
Mexican America
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Title (Spanish)
El Último Momento del Emperador Maximiliano

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