Fernand Leger

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Fernand Léger (Argentan, France, 1881 - Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. One of the prominent Cubists as well as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris. Fernand Léger emphasized a personal form of "Cubism" called "Tubism" for its cylindrical forms; he did not used the collage technique displayed in Braque and Picasso's works or in Diego Rivera's synthetic cubism. Deeply influenced by modern industrial technology and Cubism he developed “machine art,” a style characterized by monumental mechanistic forms rendered in bold colours. [1]

At the beginning of Léger's career he had been painting in a style that mixed Impressionism with Fauvism.

Léger began his career as a an artist by serving an apprenticeship in architecture in Caen and working as a architectural draughtsman. In 1900 Léger went to Paris and was admitted to the École des Arts Décoratifs in 1903 and also attended the Académie Julian. The first profound influence on Léger's work came from Cézanne, whose pictures Léger encountered at the large-scale Paul Cézanne exhibition at the 1907 Salon d'Automne. [2]

After his experiences in the First World War, Léger became convinced that art should be accessible to all. He moved away from pure abstraction towards the stylized depiction of real objects, laying great emphasis on order, clarity and harmony. In the 1920s he developed a concern with geometric composition and decoration. [3] He achieved a mechanistic classicism; Three Women (1921) is considered to be the masterpiece of Léger’s mechanical period.

Surrealismus also left its mark on Fernand Léger in the 1930s, loosening up his style and making it more curvilinear. Léger taught at Yale University and at Mills College in California from 1940 until 1945. By now his dominant motifs were drawn from the workplace and were post-Cubist in form, combined with the representational clarity of Realism. [4] (a distinctive realist imagery).

He was friend of great artists like Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Theodore Rousseau, Le Corbusier and Guillaume Apollinaire. Léger's students included Sam Francis, William Gear, and Tarsila do Amaral.

Leger Three Sisters 1952.jpg

Three Sisters, 1952.

See also

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