Place Vendome Column
During the Paris Commune in 1871, the painter Gustave Courbet proposed the column to be disassembled and re-erected in the Hôtel des Invalides. Courbet argued that:
“ Inasmuch as the Vendôme column is a monument devoid of all artistic value, tending to perpetuate by its expression the ideas of war and conquest of the past imperial dynasty, which are reproved by a republican nation's sentiment, citizen Courbet expresses the wish that the National Defense government will authorise him to disassemble this column. ”
This project was not adopted, but, on April 12, 1871, the dismantling of the imperial symbol was voted, and the column taken down on May 8, with no intentions of rebuilding it. The bronze plates were preserved. After the assault on the Paris Commune by Adolphe Thiers, the decision was taken to rebuild the column with its statue of Napoléon. On his own previous proposition, Gustave Courbet was condemned to pay part of the expenses. Unable to pay, Courbet went into a self-imposed exile in Switzerland.
From the English wikipedia article.