This monumental triptych by Georges Leroux, rediscovered during collection stocktaking, was restored in 2017. The artist presents both a poignant document on the engagement of French troops in the global conflict and a memorial work which calls for peace by bearing witness to the violence of war.

The composition includes over fifty figures. Soldiers, officers, pilots and nurses converge on a wall on which is inscribed the text of the final bulletin, issued on 11 November 1918 by the General Headquarters of the French Army: “In the fifty-second month of a war without precedent in history, the French Army, with the help of its allies, has finally defeated the enemy…” On the left, the cavalry and colonial troops, and on the right, Ingenuity and the new battle tanks, illustrate the diversity of the forces involved.

While the work depicts a sentiment of national unity, it also recalls the disasters of the great War by representing mutilated soldiers, weapons smeared with blood, a tattered French flag raised above the cortege, and the devastated landscape of the battlefields on the horizon.

Winner of the Grand Prix de Rome in 1906, Georges Leroux already enjoyed a strong reputation as a decorative painter when he was drafted at the age of 37. He took part in the violent fighting which occurred in the Meuse, then in 1916 progressed to the camouflage section, which employed painters’ skills to conceal army equipment from the eyes of the enemy. Returning to civilian life, Leroux pursued a brilliant career, culminating in his appointment as president of the French Institute in 1945.

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City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

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