Fernand Léger Biography | Oil Paintings
2-4-1881 Argentan, FRA – 8-17-1955 Gif-sur-Yvette, FRABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Fernand Léger studied architecture in Caen and painting at the Academie Julian in Paris from 1903. Through Braque and Picasso, he was introduced to Cubism around 1910, but he soon developed his own distinctive brand of the art described as the 'aesthetic of the machine', already evident in his work by 1913 but more developed after World War I.
In this period Fernand Léger designed costumes and sets for the Swedish Ballet and collaborated with Man Ray in the first abstract film, Le Ballet Mecanique (Mechanical Ballet) 1924. His colorful abstracts such as Still Life with Fruit Bowl are a conflict between figuration and abstraction. The recognizable fruit bowl seems besieged by pure geometric forms that compress the space devoted to the table, the fruit bowl and the open window in the background. This continual alteration, even within a single composition, is the most interesting feature of all Leger's work. The "mechanical" works Fernand Léger painted in the 1920s, in their formal clarity as well as in their subject matter. The front facing people, strong outlines and blended interior colors of these paintings are reminiscent of works by Henri Rousseau, whom Leger met in 1909 and greatly admired.
During World War II he lived in the USA where he taught at Yale University and painted acrobats and cyclists as well as working on the murals for the United Nations building in New York. After returning to France he concentrated on large paintings of men and machinery, earning the epithet of the 'Primitive of the Machine Age'. In The Builders, inspired by a sincere social and political commitment, especially in his large murals, Leger abandoned the semi-abstract compositions of his youth and returned to the human figure. He celebrated craftsmen, manual laborers, and construction workers, delineated by thick, clear-cut outlines, in dignified Post-cubist paintings based on the three primary colors, blue, red and yellow.
In 2008, Fernand Léger painting, Étude pour La Femme en Bleu sold for $39,250,000.
Art Movement History: Cubism.
Artists Influencing Fernand Leger: Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne, Henri Rousseau.
He Traveled To Sweden, USA, Venezuela, Brazil.
Painters Fernand Leger Influenced: Nadir Afonso, Paul Georges, Charlotte Gilbertson, Hananiah Harari, Asger Jorn, Michael Loew, Victor Reinganum, Marcel Mouly, René Margotton, Beverly Pepper, Richard Stankiewicz.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.