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Léger, Fernand
born: 1881 Argentan, France
died: 1955 Gifsur-Yvette, near Parls

Fernand Léger's involvement with Cubism (ed to the development of a highly individual style that relied strongly on geometric elements. His machines and the machine-like people that worked them were built up oftube or pipe shapes, which brought him the nickname of "tubiste". The Pink Tugo (1918) shows an appreciation of modern technology, which, as Karl Ruhrberg writes, "Leger not only did not reject, as his Cubist friends did, but lent... joyous and optimistic form in a coloratian based on bright, sometimes almost garish red, blue and yellow." The human figure at the (eft edge of the canvas resembles a robot, as if he were part and parcel of the smokestacks, anchor chains, sirens, silos and warehouses of the harbor where the tugboat has moored. Looking at the picture one has the sense of being able to hear the sirens wail, the pipes spout steam, and the machinery clatter. Tbe Twins (or Gemini) (1929-1930) is a composition resembling a stil) life, consisting of diverse contrasting shapes and elements floating in space. The human figures set against a dark background, which have the appearance of quotes from another picture or visitors from some obscurely remernbered dream, call up associations with dancers, or a constellation in the night sky. The oil and charcoal picture The Divers was done in 1942 for the private residence of Wallace K. Harrison, an architect, on Long Island The inspiration for the motif came to Léger as he was walking on the beach at Marseille, in 1940. "The idea... occurred to me in the South he recalled. "Immediately afterwards I travelled to the United States, and then one day I went to a swimming place." There Leger saw not just five or six divers, but two hundred. "You could no langer tell to whom any particular head, leg, or arm belonged ... So in my picture I jumbled the limbs, and realized that in this way I was being much more honest than Michelangelo when he concentrated on each individual muscle." With time Lcger's art took on an increasing social commitment, becoming an expression of solidarity with the nameless members of a mass society. At the end of this development staod the prajection of a concrete utopia, a free world without repression or exploitation in which labor and leisure would be equal sources of joy. A favorite venue for this vision was the circus, where work and play seemed indistinguishable. In these paintings Léger's dancers and acrobats again and again assume a certain pose: one hand raised above their head, as if waving to or saluting someone. The drawing Head of a Woman (1937) is an example from the series. Here the spontaneous gesture has become one of serenity and passive musing. The neoclassical scheme in depicting the figure, which Léger worked out in parallel with Pablo Picasso and Alexander Archipenko in the 1920s, anticipated his 1954 rendering of a Country Outing, a salient example of Leger's late style. It is one in a long series of artists' evocations of Sunday, the day of rest on which plain people come closest to realizing an earthly paradise. It is also a "group picture with ladies," in which the figures are expanded to monumental proportions and given idealized features.

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Künstlerliste ( back to the artist list )
Die vier Elemente des Universums / the four elements of the universe Original Lithografien/Lithographs - Joan Miró, Fernand Léger, Francisco Bores + Abraham Rattner
Alle Künstlerinnen und Künster von Pablo Picasso bis Andy Warhol auf einen BlicK / All the artists at a brief glance
Seitenanfang/side start   Homepage Gesamtinformation/all exhibitions and exhibits of art  Impressum   Info allgemein / Info general