J. Simont


from the Pages of 'l'Illustration'

German prisoners during the fighting in Champagne, late 1915
from a 1915 issue of 'l'Illustration'


The realistic illustrations of J. Simont, graced the pages of 'l'Illustration' and many other magazines and books worldwide, both prior, during and after the Great War. Much in the same manner and style as other commercial news illustrators such as the Britsih-employed Fortunino Matania and German-born Felix Schwormstadt, Simont used his considerable artistic talents in portraying people and events in an almost photographically realist manner.

As was the custom in the days of news reporting when it was not always possible to procure photographs of newsworthy events, publishers made extensive use of commericial illustrators to produce suitable drawings or paintings for publication. Indeed, it can be argued that there was a time when readers preferred seeing stirring and suitably composed and rendered illustrations above actual photographs. Illustrators such as Simont, Sabattier, Matania, Lucien Jonas, Georges Scott, Schwormstadt and countless others worldwide, were employed to produce such work in the somewhat theatrically dramatic and carefully posed realistic style that was so prevalent and appreciated at the time.

Illustrations had the advantage that they could be produced according to wish and doctored to include any detail or subtle message in accords with the dictates of war-time propaganda and patriotic sentiment. They were also, alas, time-consuming and costly to produce, especially when the talents of such experienced artists as J. Simont and others were employed. Benefits could be rewarding though, especially when rights to reproduction were sold to numerous other publications worldwide. Many publications, 'l'Illustration' being the foremost example, published such drawings as lavish two-page centerfolds, suitable for framing. During the Great War, Simont produced many dozens of war-related illustrations, some showing battle scenes and combat in the front-line trenches. Many others however focused on less dramatic, but more recognizable scenes of soldiers on leave or wounded in duty.

Oddly enough, all his Great War illustrations were published in grey tone or sepia, while afterwards in the 1920's and '30's 'l'Illustration' printed color reproductions of work by J. Simont. Simont worked for 'l'Illustration' for more than 20 years and was together with L.Sabattier one of the artists whose work regularilly graced the pages of that prestigious French newsmagazine.


to a Gallery of Illustrations by J. Simont

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Page 11
Post-War Illustrations
Page 12
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Page 14
Page 15

a J. Simont illustration graces the frontpage of a German war-time magazine


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