Press release (2014)
First World War artist records allied combatants — marking the centenary
A unique set of 104 pastel portraits of World War I "Military Types" fighting on the Allied side by Swiss artist Eugène Burnand (1850-1921) is now available to view at www.eugene-burnand.com as a contribution to the 1914 centenary commemorations.
Eighty of a final total of 104 were first displayed at the Luxemburg Museum in Paris in May 1919 to great public acclaim. One hundred were published as a book by Crété of Paris in 1922 with a preface by Marshal Foch. 101 of the originals belong to the Museum of the Legion of Honour in Paris where 72 are on permanent display. Three belong to the Eugène Burnand Museum. The images on the website are produced from photogravures in the Crété book "Les Alliés Dans La Guerre Des Nations". The portraits are of outstanding quality and are enhanced by a short contemporary description, taken from the book, by military historian Robert Burnand. Each has been translated into English under each picture on the website. They represent 14 nationalities of the time from many ranks and most are identified by name or place of origin or both. The artist's aim was to portray the character of each, from as many different countries as possible. They combine artistic excellence with personal and historic detail in a way that allows the observer to identify with the subject and see what they represented in that era.
Eugene Burnand was an artist of the classical school who achieved great distinction in Switzerland and France. He started with pastoral scenes, and later on, portraits and religious themes dominated. He became a Member of the Legion of Honour in 1893 and an Officer in 1920. There is a museum/gallery devoted solely to his work in his home town of Moudon, Vaud, Switzerland. He is virtually unknown in the English speaking world. His only work widely reproduced outside France and Switzerland is "The Disciples", a stunning portrayal of Disciples Peter and John running to the sepulchre on the morning of the Resurrection. This picture is in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.
The purpose of www.eugene-burnand.com is to make his work better known in the English speaking world.
Further information from the author, Doug Jenkinson, Nottingham, England.
The first picture below is the famous "Disciples". The second is pastel number 1, Fantassin Devignes from Burgundy. The pastel overview page is www.eugene-burnand.com/pastel selection.htm