Herbin was called for military service in 1914, but because he did not meet minimum height requirements, he was assigned to auxiliary service. He helped decorate the chapel of the millitary base at Mailly-en-Champagne, and painted camouflage designs in an airplane factory outside of Paris.
Consequently, his output during 1915-1916 was small, but by 1917 he began to paint more extensively, and quickly moved from his pre-war style, which combined representation, geometry and color in a personal manner that paralleled analytical cubism, to an approach that clearly reflects the flattened surfaces and broad treatment of color in synthetic cubism. The artist spotlights his simplified still-life forms against the monochrome ground by contrasting areas of flatly applied, ungraded color with finely-patterned passages. By 1919 these elements evolved into a purely abstract and geometric style, which, apart from a brief return to representational painting in the 1920s, remained essential characteristics of Herbin's work through the end of his career.