Military cemetery at Châlons-sur-Marne, June 1917


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.

Full title:
Military cemetery at Châlons-sur-Marne, June 1917
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg

Related articles

Faith, belief and superstition

Article by:
Matthew Shaw
Life as a soldier

From organised religion to visions of angels on the battlefield, Curator Dr Matthew Shaw explores the profound impact of World War One on religion, belief and superstition for individuals and communities around the world.

Haig and British generalship during the war

Article by:
Laura Walker
Historical debates

Archivist and Curator Laura Walker compares and contrasts the historical responses to Sir Douglas Haig, a controversial figure who led the Somme and Passchendaele offensives and under whose leadership the war was won.

Why paint war? British and Belgian artists in World War One

Article by:
Paul Gough
Representation and memory

Professor Paul Gough introduces British and Belgian artists of World War One, from Henry de Groux and his eyewitness responses to the Belgian invasion, to the later generation of British artists who transformed their frontline experiences into abstract, modernist artworks.

Related collection items