Roger de La Fresnaye (French, 1885–1925)
Oil on canvas
51 1/4 x 62 3/4 in. (130.2 x 159.4 cm)
Gift of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1991 (1991.397)
Painted three years before the outbreak of World War I, the subject of this painting appears prophetic. La Fresnaye could often have observed similar military reviews near Les Invalides in Paris. Artillery officers on white and brown horses accompany a caisson (ammunition wagon for moving artillery) that transports a field gun and three soldiers in helmets. In the background a military music band approaches, wearing the blue and red uniforms of the infantry. Although Artillery represents an imaginary scene, La Fresnaye, as the son of a military officer, paid close attention to the various uniforms. Forms are reduced to their utmost simplicity and geometric core, while the color schemetaking its cue from the tricolore held aloftis composed of red, white, and blue, along with earthen tones. Painted in 1911, the year he became associated with Cubism and joined the Section d'Or group, Artillery demonstrates the artist's ever greater emphasis on the solid geometry that underlies all forms in nature.