Raymond Desvarreux was called up in 1896. He was a Corporal in the 25th Territorial Infantry Regiment and was seconded to the Army Museum (Musée de l’Armée). He painted interesting representations of French and allied soldiers and war prisoners. He was a Founder member of the Society of military painters and was a painter for the War Ministry from February 1915.
Whilst a Corporal with the 25th Regiment, Raymond fought in Cambrai, Bapaume and Noyelles before being hospitalised in October 1914. He was subsequently sent to Amiens in December with Berne-Bellecour to paint what he saw. In January 1915, he went to Joncherey-Reims, this time with his brother. In March 1915, Raymond was found unfit for military duty. In April, he worked in an army camp in Paris, and in November he was sent on a mission near to Châlons. In August 1916, Raymond was sent to Pau to visit the American airforce camp and in the Autumn, he was in Ménil-la-Tour. In May 1917, he was in Rouen and le Havre. In September and October he visited the American billets in Gondrecourt (Meuse). In August 1918, Raymond went to Alsace, then near Reims in September, and again to Alsace between October and December. Raymond continued to paint as a war artist until 8th February 1919.
The Musée de l’Armée has approximately 130 paintings out of the 200 Raymond painted during the Great War. These are mainly representations of uniforms of French and allied troops and a mixture of portraits of soldiers and officers he came across during his stays in the different military zones he visited.
I am indebted to Frédéric Lacaille of the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, for his notes on French war artists. This information was obtained from his lecture given to the Association Internationale des Musées d’Armées et d’Histoire
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