This is a painting I've known for decades now since it hangs in the Gare de l'Est in Paris, a railway station close to where I live.
This station was the departing point to the front in eastern France for hundreds of thousands young French soldiers from 1914 up to 1918.
Just, little did I know that the painter was an American one who had lost one of his sons some months before the end of this nameless massacre.
The young man we see wearing a white shirt in the middle of the painting is holding a bouquet of flowers in his rifle which reminds of the French expression "partir fleur au fusil" which indicates how light-heartedly people at the time thought the war would be a matter of few weeks before the Germans would be flatly defeated.
There is a strong temptation to imagine this young man is actually Albert Herter's own son since this painting is made in remembrance of him and how could possibly his father not want to represent his beloved deceased in a painting dedicated to the dead of WWI?
This is another piece of information I've learned about the links that tie Americans and Paris. Guess there are still many others that I'm not aware of.