En Guerre: French Illustration and World War I
Introductory remarks by Consul General of France Vincent Floreani on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition "En Guerre : French Illustration and World War I" at the Regenstein Library - University of Chicago.
(October 14, 2014)
I am very honored to be with you at the University of Chicago. Over the past years, this University and the Consulate general of France have built a strong and successful partnership. The France Chicago Center plays a key role in our relation.
The First World War represents an unprecedented event in the history of humanity. It caused political, social, economic, and cultural upheavals throughout the world.
The United States of America played a major role. Its engagement started well before 1917, when your country officially entered into the conflict. American volunteers were present in France as early as 1914. The US mobilized more than 4 million soldiers and a financial aid that would represent today 500 billion dollars. It helped secure the victory for the Triple Entente.
The long-standing French-American friendship was strengthened even further through this conflict.
A century after the outbreak of the “Grande Guerre”, as we call it, France wishes to honor the American engagement.
With the Cultural service, we have made this commemoration one of our priorities.
A number of events are organized this fall and will continue until 2017: exhibitions, conferences, film screenings and educational tools for schools from kindergartens to universities.
Our aim is to inform the general public of the major consequences of WWI. We want to focus in particular on the transmission of common values, across the last century, from one generation to another, in France as in America.
This evening, we have the pleasure to launch this incredible exhibition of French illustrations published during World War I. Daniel Meyer and Neil Harris just presented in details. I’m sure it will help understand better different themes associated with the war : patriotism, nationalism, propaganda, the soldier’s experience, and the role that art can play in serving or challenging the political power.
More is coming soon:
On October 30th, we will celebrate the Pritzker Military Museum and Library’s acquisition of over 100 French books on World War I. The ceremony will be followed by a discussion called “Commemorating World War One: The Trial of Hate” by the French philosopher, Marc Crépon.
On November 15th, we organize a conference titled “Jane Addams, Peace and Anti-War Activism”, in partnership with the Newberry Library and the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. This program will feature readings of French and German poems from The Great War.
We hope to have the pleasure to see you again at these events.