Military cemetery at Châlons-sur-Marne, June 1917

Illustration

Description

English

Felix Vallotton was a painter, sculptor and engraver born in Switzerland in 1865. He was one of the artists sent to depict the World War One battle front in 1916, by the French Public Instruction and Arts Ministry. Vallotton came back from Champagne and Argonne with a series of paintings, some of which depicted shellfire. This representation of the military cemetery of Châlons-en-Champagne was painted in 1917. The repetitive crosses perfectly illustrate the high death-rate during the war and the impact that had on those who survived.

This experience of life on the Western Front influenced Vallotton’s work during his later years. As a famous wood engraver, he also created a series of engravings of the war’s protagonists, from the French General, Marshal Joseph Joffre, to the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhem II. Preserved at the Bibliothèque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine in France, these engravings have also been digitised.

French

Artiste-peintre, sculpteur et graveur d'origine suisse, Félix Vallotton fait partie des peintres envoyés en mission par le Ministère de l'Instruction publique et des Beaux-Arts en 1916, à charge pour ceux-ci de représenter le front. F. Vallotton revient de Champagne et de l'Argonne avec une série de tableaux, dont une série représentant des tirs d'artillerie, et ce tableau, peint en 1917, du Cimetière militaire de Châlons-sur-Marne. Les croix des tombes, s'étendant, répétitives, jusqu'à l'horizon, traduisent parfaitement la notion de mort de masse et sa perception au coeur même du premier conflit mondial. Cette expérience du front renouvellera considérablement les sources d'inspiration de Vallotton au cours de ses dernières années. Xylographe reconnu, l'artiste est également l'auteur d'une série de bois gravés, disponibles sur le site de la BDIC et représentant les principaux protagonistes de la Grande Guerre, de Guillaume II à Joffre en passant par Hindenburg.

Full title
Military cemetery at Châlons-sur-Marne, June 1917
Created
1917
Format
Illustration
Held by
Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg
Usage Terms
Free from known copyright restrictions

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