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Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger

(1881 - 1955)
Born: Argentan, France
Style: Cubism
Famous Works:
  • The City (1919)
  • The Two Sisters (1935)
  • The Builders (1950)
Industrial technology and dynamic shapes of machinery and construction work fascinated Fernand Léger and formed the aesthetic that dominated his paintings for his entire life. He was trained at the Académie Julian in Paris, and the works from this early period show an interest in Impressionism. During this time he met Henri Rousseau and Robert Delaunay, who inspired his Fauvist works. In 1907 he saw the paintings of Paul Cézanne, whose work deeply impressed him. His vision of Cubism was based on Cézanne, with their signature "tube" shapes and bright color, quite a different form of vision from the other Cubists working at the time, including Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. After serving in the army for four years, and working on the front line, his work shifted. The themes of this work reflect a feeling of solidarity among the masses, an expression of his experience fighting among every class of Frenchman. He used an extreme of angular lines and was obsessed with industrialization. His paintings created a sense of massive scale by only showing sections of images. This technique made the painting's structure seem infinite in space and void of emotion. He believed strongly in a future socialist community. This machinist aesthetic let him to design murals, theatrical sets, and even directing a film. Léger's final art piece was a mural designed for the United Nations building in New York City. Léger is one of the only artists to have worked among so many modes of representation and to have been a leading member of all of the major movements of the early twentieth-century.
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