A camoufleur is a person who designed and implemented military camouflage in one of the world wars of the twentieth century. The term was originally a person serving in a First World War French military camouflage unit. In the Second World War, the British camouflage officers of the Middle East Command Camouflage Directorate, led by Geoffrey Barkas in the Western Desert, called themselves camoufleurs, and edited a humorous newsletter called The Fortnightly Fluer. Such men were often professional artists. The term is used by extension for all First and Second World War camouflage specialists. Some of these pioneered camouflage techniques. This list is restricted to such notable pioneers of military camouflage.
Surrealist artist Roland Penrose wrote that he and Julian Trevelyan were both "wondering how either of us could be of any use in an occupation so completely foreign to us both as fighting a war, we decided that perhaps our knowledge of painting should find some application in camouflage." Trevelyan later admitted that their early efforts were amateurish. Working in camouflage was not a guarantee of a safe passage through the war. Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola's Section de Camouflage, founded in September 1914 in the French army, developed many new techniques, some of them highly dangerous, such as putting up artificial, camouflaged trees at night to replace actual trees with cramped observation posts. The cubist painter André Mare was wounded while preparing one such observation tree. Fifteen of his camoufleur colleagues were killed during the First World War.
Some camoufleurs such as Solomon J. Solomon, aged 54 at the start of the First World War, believed that artistic skill was necessary for the design or construction of effective camouflage. He wrote that "the camoufleur is, of course, an artist, preferably one who paints or sculpts imaginative subjects... He must leave no clues for the detective on the other side in what he designs or executes, and he must above all things be resourceful. But his imagination and inventiveness should have free play".
Not all the camoufleurs were artists. John Graham Kerr and Hugh Cott were zoologists, though Cott was also a skilled illustrator. Both men believed passionately that effective disruptive camouflage was vital, especially in the face of aerial observation, but they had difficulty persuading authorities such as the British Air Ministry that their approach was the right one. At least one Royal Air Force officer felt that Cott's camouflage was highly effective, but, since it would demand the presence of a skilled artist for every installation, too costly to be practical.
First World War
|Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola||1871–1950|
|Jean-Louis Forain||1852–1931||French impressionist painter, member of de Scévola's team|
|John Graham Kerr||1869–1957||Scottish embryologist, advocate of ship dazzle camouflage in First World War, influence on Hugh Cott (Second World War camoufleur)|
|Paul Klee||1879–1940||German-Swiss painter using expressionism, cubism and surrealism. Camouflaged aircraft during the war.|
|Loyd A. Jones||1884–1954||leader of scientific research section of U.S. Navy camouflage unit in First World War|
|Franz Marc||1880–1916||German expressionist painter, printmaker; pioneered pointillist canvas tarpaulin camouflage|
|André Mare||1885–1932||French cubist painter, camouflaging artillery guns and observation trees|
|Solomon Joseph Solomon||1860–1927||British academic painter, pioneer of camouflage netting|
|Abbott Handerson Thayer||1849–1921||American painter, discoverer of countershading|
|Leon Underwood||1890–1975||British avant-garde sculptor, colleague of Solomon, made 'tree' observation posts|
|Edward Wadsworth||1889–1949||English vorticist painter, designer of dazzle camouflage for ships|
|Everett Warner||1877–1963||American impressionist painter, inventor of Warner System camouflage measure for ships|
|Norman Wilkinson||1878–1971||British marine painter, pioneer of dazzle camouflage for the Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy|
Second World War
|Tony Ayrton||1909–43||British painter, right hand man to Geoffrey Barkas during Operation Bertram|
|Geoffrey Barkas||1896–1979||British film maker, leader of British desert camouflage unit|
|Hugh Casson||1910–99||British architect, worked on camouflage for Air Ministry 1939–1944|
|John Codner||1913–2008||British painter, camouflage in Western Desert|
|Edward Bainbridge Copnall||1903–73||British sculptor, born in Cape Town; camouflage in Western Desert 1942|
|Hugh Cott||1900–87||British zoologist, author of textbook Adaptive Coloration in Animals, advisor to British Army during Battle of Britain, chief instructor at Middle East Command School of Camouflage at Helwan, Egypt|
|Frederick Gore||1913–2009||British fauvist painter, camouflage officer for southeast England preparing for D-Day landings|
|Stanley William Hayter||1901–88||British surrealist painter, printmaker; with Roland Penrose set up camouflage training unit|
|Ivan Konev||1897–1973||Russian general, responsible for maskirovka including army-scale camouflage and dummy units in the Battle of Kursk, achieving tactical surprise|
|Jasper Maskelyne||1902–73||British stage magician, camouflage in Western Desert 1942, exaggerating his role and effectiveness|
|Oliver Messel||1904–78||English stage designer, pioneer of pillbox (concrete strongpoint) camouflage|
|Roland Penrose||1900–84||English surrealist artist; teacher of camouflage, author of Home Guard Manual of Camouflage|
|Peter Proud||1913–89||Scottish film art director, camouflage in Western Desert 1942 including Siege of Tobruk and dummy port at Ras el Hillal; invented "Net Gun Pit"|
|Fred Pusey||1909–83||British film art director and production designer, camouflage in Western Desert 1942 including dummy railhead at Misheifa, dummy port at Ras el Hillal and Operation Crusader|
|Brian Robb||1913–79||English painter, illustrator, Punch cartoonist; camouflage in Western Desert, Operation Bertram 1942|
|Peter Scott||1909–89||British ornithologist, conservationist and painter of wildfowl, and naval officer exploring ship camouflage|
|Edward Seago||1910–74||English post-impressionist painter, camouflage advisor to Field Marshal Auchinleck|
|Alan Sorrell||1904–74||English neo-romanticist painter and illustrator; camouflaged Royal Air Force aerodromes|
|Basil Spence||1907–76||Scottish architect (Art Deco style 1933); officer in British Army's Camouflage Training and Development Unit at Farnham|
|Steven Sykes||1914–99||British stained glass designer, ceramist and painter; first Grade 2 Camouflage Staff Officer in British army; created dummy railhead at Misheifa, Egypt in 1941, dummy port at Ras al Hilal, Cyrenaica in 1942. Gethsemane Chapel, Coventry Cathedral, 1960.|
|Ernest Townsend||1880–1944||British portrait painter; camouflaged rooves of Rolls-Royce aircraft engine factories in Derby as houses|
|Julian Trevelyan||1910–88||British printmaker and teacher; pioneer of desert camouflage and deception|
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