Coquelicot Art of the First World War
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Fernand Léger, On The Road to Fleury (Two Men Killed), October 24th 1916, ink on letter card, 12 x 8.25 cm, location unknown.

The death

87 - Fernand Léger

Léger very rarely drew the dead. Although as a stretcher-bearer, he was in daily contact with victims, he obviously found them repugnant to draw. This drawing was the result of what Léger saw near Verdun, but it is not a picture of the 'human debris' he describes in his letters. The geometrical treatment suggests the dislocation of the bodies. The left arm of the one thrown onto his back would seem to be detached from his torso. "I have seen some exceedingly strange things", he wrote. "Heads almost mummified emerging from the mud. They looked so small in this sea of earth, you would almost have taken them for children. The hands especially are extraordinary. I have seen hands I would like to have a perfect photograph of. They really are incredibly expressive."