Georges Bertin Scott

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Biography of Georges Bertin Scott ( 1873-1943 )

Since an early age, Scott devoted himself to drawing: "I always drew (...). My father was a painter and illustrator. I was born in a workshop" he said later. Orphaned father in 1884, Georges Scott showed his sketches and drawing to Paul Déroulède, president of the League of Patriots. This meeting marked the beginning of Scott's artistic career. He studied at the Fine Arts School and became one of the disciples of the great military painter Edouard Detaille.

At the beginning of the 1890s, he offered to the magazine "Illustration" an article and sketches made at the time of the anarchist attacks. René Baschet, director of the magazine, was seduced by his work. He hired Scott, who began a career as a reporter, illustrator and painter in the writing of "Illustration".

"I have followed for a large part of my life all the important events that have occurred, but nothing will be worth to me in the years when, as Illustration correspondent, I was constantly going to all corners of the world. (...) ".

During the Balkan wars, he made three trips to the Balkans between 1911 and 1913. He traveled around Thrace with the Bulgarian army, where he discovered the horrors of war. Then, he was sent back to the Balkans by the "Illustration" and arrived at Adrianople on April 2, 1913, accompanied by Messimy, a former Minister of War, and Benazet, rapporteur of thA Army Commission.

"The most atrocious sight I have ever seen is, without a doubt, the island of Maritza opposite Adrianople, during the Balkan campaign, and after the capture of Adrianople. The Turkish garrison of this city, which had undergone nine months of siege, was literally exhausted, the food was long gone, and the number of these unfortunate prisoners was about 12,000 (the whole garrison). (...) Cholera, typhus, dysentery, all epidemic diseases had fallen on these unfortunate people. When I arrived, there were still 7 to 8,000, the others were already dead or had been massacred; the horrible thing is that these men had been laid there without shelter, in the rain and without food of any kind; they had come to peel the trees, of which they ate the bark."

In July 1913, during the second Balkan war, he went to Greece. He followed the Greek army and spent several days at the headquarters of King Constantine with whom he became friends later. In September 1913, on the occasion of his trip to Paris, the king visited him in his studio to examine the first sketch of his equestrian portrait, completed in Athens in the spring of 1914.

In the summer of 1914, Scott prepared a portrait of Jamal Pasha (1872-1922) in Constantinople. At the mobilization, he returned hastily to Paris and joined his mobilization assignment. He went to Alsace to report on the movements of the French army. His first drawings, including the famous "We do not pass!" Appears on the front cover of "Illustration" on August 8, 1914. As a war correspondent, Georges Scott traveled the battlefields (Old Armand, Ypres, Somme, Champagne) to give an account of what he saw. He was in Verdun from February 21, 1916 where he lived for most of the year. In 1917, he visited the British front and then the Italian front, which he left only in 1918. He described the violent fighting in the Dolomites.

Employed as a war correspondent for the "Illustration" and painter for the armies from 1916, Scott offered an idealized vision of the war, refined and patriotic, all to the glory of the French soldiers. However, he was gradually giving a darker image of war with mud, terror and death. Scott photographed, wrote, drew and painted the Great War. His work was a tribute to the great suffering of the soldiers, their resignation and heroism.

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