The Aubusson war memorial was built in 1922. It features a statue created by sculptor Auguste Lardillier, who was born in Aubusson and trained at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He exhibited his work regularly from 1891 onwards and designed a statue of Saint Teresa and Infant Jesus for the basilica of Lisieux.
The war memorial statue depicts a soldier of the Great War deliberately stripped of any weapons. He is placing laurels on a grave surmounted by a cross and a helmet. The title of the work, displayed at the foot of the statue, explains the meaning of the scene: ‘Partage des Lauriers de la Victoire’ – ‘sharing the laurels of victory’ with the men who gave their lives for their country.
The youthful features of the soldier with his face hidden in the shade of the helmet give the sculpture a profound sense of melancholy. The fullness of its breadth and the smooth purity of its surface are reminiscent of the work of sculptor Aristide Maillol and his “primitive classicism”. The statue was enhanced with chasing and patina by the bronze founder, Ferdinand Barbedienne. This famous French manufacturer invented a new process of bronze reproduction for art objects.
The war memorial bears testimony to the heavy price paid by the town of Aubusson in the Great War, with over 470 deaths throughout the canton. The location of the monument in the town centre makes it a powerful symbol which expresses remembrance and respect, whilst serving as a manifesto for peace.
Built in 1922, the war memorial features a statue created by the famous sculptor, Auguste Lardillier. Find out more about this work of art, as well as the sculptor and artisan founder who created it, by listening to this audio commentary.