Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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André Mare, Autoportrait (Self-Portrait), 1916, Sketchbook 2, p. 7, ink and watercolour on paper, Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne.

© SESAM, Paris, 1998.

The fighting men

8 - André Mare

Unlike Orpen, Mare (1885-1932), whose job it was to prepare and organise the camouflaging of the artillery positions, portrays himself as a soldier. He lived close to the front lines in the same conditions as an ordinary private, with no privileges or pleasures. His natural language was Cubism, a style he had been using since 1912, having been initiated in it by his friend Léger. He highlights the thinness of his face and the cap and around the faces he organises picturesque symbolic elements dominated by the three-coloured harmony of the French flag. Shortly after this self-portrait, Mare was seriously wounded by a shell whilst setting up observation posts in Picardy. He was operated on by the doctor and author Georges Duhamel at Ressons, and recovered from his wounds caused by three pieces of shrapnel.