Fernand Leger

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Fernand Léger, photo by Carl van Vechten (undated)

Fernand Léger [ leʒe ] (born February 4, 1881 in Argentan in Normandy , † August 17, 1955 in Gif-sur-Yvette near Paris ) was a French painter , sculptor , graphic artist , ceramist and film director . His early work is assigned to Cubism . In his works after the Second World War , his painterly style changed . From the 1920s onwards, he increasingly integrated figurative elements into his paintings. Léger's late work influenced American Pop Art painters , such as Roy Lichtenstein .


After working as an architectural draftsman for several years (1897–1899 architecture apprenticeship in Caen ), Fernand Léger went to Paris ( Montparnasse district ) around 1900 . After his military service (1902–1903) he took courses at the École des Arts Décoratifs and the Académie Julian in Paris from 1903 to 1904 , but continued to work in an architecture office and as a retoucher of photographs. After Impressionist beginnings ( Le jardin de ma mère - My mother's garden , 1905), he joined the loosely organized so-called Puteaux group , which ideally can be found in the environment of Cubism ; Picasso and Georges Braque in particular influenced him from the Cubists themselves . He exhibited his work mainly in the Kahnweiler Gallery , named after Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler , an art dealer who "discovered" Fernand Léger personally (1910) and also to a large extent for the awareness and acceptance of Cubism itself (as an art movement) by various people Exhibitions, especially outside of France, contributed. In 1908 he opened a studio in the Parisian artist colonyLa Ruche ” - together with Henri Laurens , Marc Chagall , Guillaume Apollinaire and others.

La grande fleur qui marche , 1952, in The Hague
Stained glass window by Fernand Léger

After his war service 1914–1917 and his wounding - he almost died in a German mustard gas attack - his "période mécanique" (mechanical period) began, inspired by the war machine; Among other things, he made the experimental film Le ballet mécanique (The mechanical ballet) in 1924 . Léger stayed in the United States during World War II and did not return to Paris until 1945. In addition to numerous paintings, he also created monumental art. He was active in decorating the UN building in New York , and he made mosaics and glass windows in the churches of Passy ( Haute-Savoie ) and Audincourt ( Doubs ) .

According to Niklas Maak , Léger also admitted to having painted “twenty-five false corots ” in order to earn money .

On the Biennial of São Paulo , he received early in 1955 the painter price. Soon afterwards he died in his newly furnished studio in Gif-sur-Yvette near Paris.

Some of his works were shown posthumously at documenta 1 (1955), documenta II (1959) and documenta III in 1964 in Kassel .

Works (selection)

Student (selection)


Web links

Commons : Fernand Léger  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Philippe Büttner: Encounters in Pictures. Fernand Léger and the Americans of the Pop Art generation . In: Fondation Beyeler (Ed.): Fernand Léger. Paris - New York. Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, June 1 - September 7, 2008 . Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7757-2160-8 , p. 13-23 .
  2. Niklas Maak : Everything is really nice - but unfortunately not real In: FAZ from September 16, 2010.
  3. ↑ Glass window, pp. 467–469
  4. Fernand Léger. Le Beau est partout | Center Pompidou Metz. Retrieved September 11, 2017 (French).
  5. Léger - Laurens. Tête-à-Tête - Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden.