Hell: A Work on War

georges-leroux-hell-1917

Painter Georges Leroux enlisted in the French Army during the First World War. In 1921, after serving time on the Western Front in France and Belgium, Leroux painted L’Enfer (Hell). L’Enfer, pictured above, shares remarkably similar characteristics to the center and left panels of the Dix. triptych. The two share an earthy color palette broken by fiery reds painted in a realist or veristic style. Corpses lay dead in the trenches next to ambiguous mounds of rubble and carnage. However, Leroux features no hero rising battle, only death and explosives.

The similarities between the two paintings reveal  a universal truth about the First World War. Dix. and Leroux may have battled one another on opposing sides, but both paintings tell the same tragic story of industrial warfare.

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