Thursday, June 23, 2016

La Baionnette Camouflage Cover | Jacques Nam

Cover illustration (1917), by French camoufleur Jacques Nam
Above La Baionnette was a weekly French satirical magazine that was published during World War I, from 1914 to 1918. Each issue focused on a theme, and this is the cover illustration for the 23 August 1917 edition. As is evident from the signature at the bottom left, the artist was Jacques Nam (aka Jacques Lehmann or Jacques Lehmann Nam) (1881-1974), who served as a French Army camoufleur. In civilian life, he was primarily known for political caricature and for stylized animal portraits (ad nauseum), especially cats—ca-choo!


George W. McCree, "Recruiting Engineers for the World War in Minnesota" in Minnesota History Bulletin. Vol 3 (May 1, 1920, p. 350)—

One day a man came into the office very excited. He was an artist, a scene painter in one of our theatres, and he was very anxious to get into Company C of the Twenty-Fifth Engineers. This was a company made up of camouflage artists. This fellow was a dandy man for that organization but he was an inveterate cigarette smoker and had one hundred percent of artistic temperament. Before he went up for his preliminary physical examination, I spoke to him quietly because I knew his heart was beating about a thousand times a minute and that he would never pass in that condition. When I thought he was all right I let him go and then telephoned the noncommissioned officer in charge at the recruiting station, telling him what kind of a man was coming to see him and that if there was nothing organically wrong to let him pass because he was a very desirable man for the camouflage unit. About three minutes after the man left he came back and said, "Oh! Mr. McCree pray that I may be passed." He was passed and he was so elated that it was about four days before he could get his feet back to earth so that he could go to [Fort] Snelling for his final examination. After his elation he became tremendously depressed; every little while he would come in to ask me if I thought he would pass and each time I was requested to pray for him. At last I got him off to Snelling and sent him on his way assuring him that I would pray for him. Believing that in this case work was more efficacious than faith, I telephoned Snelling and told the authorities how anxious I was to have this man accepted. Soon thereafter he left for American University [the camp in Washington DC, where WWI US Army camoufleurs were being trained] to join his regiment.