Georges Leroux was born in France in 1877. On the outbreak of the First World War he joined the French Army and served on the Western Front in France and Belgium. He later recalled how on one reconnaissance mission he saw "a group of French soldiers taking shelter in a great shell-hole full of water". That evening he made sketches of what he had seen and later painted L'Enfer (Hell). One critic remarked that the Leroux had "produced a work which attempts to represent as accurately as possible the unrepresentable reality of war".