Fernand Léger France, 1881-1955


Fernand Léger (b. 1881, Argentan, France; d. 1955, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. Following his initial studies in architecture in Caen from 1897 to 1899, Léger moved to Paris in 1900. There, he supported himself as an architectural draftsman while taking classes at the École des Beaux-Arts and enrolled at the Académie Julian. Léger’s earliest known works, dating from 1905, were deeply influenced by Impressionism, though his style grew increasingly abstract after viewing the Paul Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d’Automne in 1907 and encountering the Cubist work of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In 1909, Léger moved to Montparnasse, where he made the acquaintance of artists including Alexander Archipenko, Marc Chagall, and Robert Delaunay. During this period, he developed his own personal approach to Cubism that critics called Tubism in a reference to the prominence of cylindrical forms. In the 1920s, Léger collaborated on films and designed set and costumes, and the artist completed his first film, Ballet mécanique, in 1924. In 1931, he traveled to the United States and returned there during World War II. Following the war, he moved back to France where he lived and worked until his death in 1955. Léger’s work is held in major institutional collections around the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.