Lucien Jonas - Musée de la Grande Guerre

Lucien Jonas

Lucien Jonas

This oil painting entitled Gérardmer depicts a military decoration ceremony at a hospital. A handwritten legend on the back provides greater context: “General de Pouydraguin presents the French tricolour flag to an injured man he just decorated, so that he might kiss it), Gérardmer Hospital, Vosges, 1917”.

This painting is typical of the work of Lucien Jonas. The artist painted the flag, the red covers and the white sheets in bright colours. Although this is a quick sketch, the surroundings are identifiable: the Lac de Gérardmer hotel, which served as a hospital between 1915 and 1917.

The painting’s iconography is remarkable: the kissing of the flag during a decoration ceremony was neither official nor compliant with regulations. Presumably, Lucien Jonas wished to present an idealized and patriotic version of the scene. However, it is also possible that the artist saw such a scene at the Gérardmer hospital, and one was to be found on a postcard from the time.

Lucien Jonas (1880-1947), Gérardmer, oil on canvas, 53.4 x 65 cm. Inventory no.: 2009.28.1.