Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Félix Vallotton, Dans l'ombre (In the Shadow), 1916, woodcut on paper, 17,7 x 22,5 cm, Galerie Paul Vallotton, Lausanne.

The battlefield

25 - Félix Vallotton

Before going to the front to attempt to paint the war, Vallotton (1865-1925) engraved emblematic images of it. His album entitled This is War is a collection of his woodcuts - a technique he mastered during the 1890s - one which demands extreme simplicity, bold contrasts between black and white, and ruggedness of line. This makes it particularly appropriate for depicting warfare, groping with knives in the dark sapping trenches, between enemies who could hardly see each other. The details on the helmets are all there is to indicate the nationality of either side.