Born February 4, 1881, in Argentan, France; Fernand Leger was best known for cubism, but also worked with many other styles and mediums. Though not originally encouraged to do art, he was sent to architecture school once his artist talent became apparent. He continued on to apprentice and work as an architectural draftsman for a time before going back to school for art at the Paris School of Decorative Arts. Leger’s work had been a mix of Impressionism and Fauvism until he saw a collection of Cézanne’s work–turning him to Cubism and his own spin off of Cubism: Tubism. One of Leger’s most famous collections of abstract works is titled “Contrast of Forms.” His work was put on hold when he went to war, but was resumed upon his return with new mediums such as set design and film. Additionally, he opened a school of modern art. As the years went on, Leger’s work became more and more modernistic with mechanical subjects and themes of speed and movement. Leger spent some time in America during WWII, continued his work, and then returned to France and his school. His work became very influenced by his participation in the Communist party, and he focused on “the common man.” He died August 17, 1955, in Gif-sur-Yvette, France; but his legacy lived on in his influence of other budding artists of the time.
CUBISM & LEGER
Leger exemplified the cubist style in his works by overlapping forms and having unfixed viewpoints. He modified the angular shapes in some of his work and instead used cylinders, creating what he termed “tubism.” Additionally, he had partially somber, partially bright color palettes.
DESCRIPTION OF MEDIA, TECHNIQUE, AND INFLUENCE
His media included painting, film, book illustrations, theatre set and costumes design, stained tapestry, pottery, stained glass, and mosaics.
Leger was influenced by artists such as Matisse, Kandinsky, Chagall, Cézanne, and Soutine. And the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Futurist, and Fauvist movements.
21ST CENTURY COMPARISON: Clark Goolsby
Goolsby’s work compares to Leger’s in it’s overlapping of objects and forms and additionally its combination of both bright and darker hues. The biggest difference between their work though, is probably that Goolsby is somewhat photorealistic and Leger is not in any means. Leger’s work focuses more on color blocking and gradients that show the dimension of his forms. Goolsby also uses color blocking techniques.
I really enjoyed the simplicity and yet the large number of things going on in Leger’s pieces. It creates a very fun viewing experience. When I look at some of the pieces I am reminded of walking in the city and how there are so many signs and people and overlapping building shapes.
I also like the way he contrasts the rectangular forms with circles. I suppose that goes along with his “tubism.”
“Fernand Léger Biography, Art, and Analysis of Paintings by TheArtStory.” The Art Story. The Art
Story Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2014.
“Fernand Leger Biography.” Biography.com. A+E Television Networks, LLC, 2014. Web. 2 Apr.
Of All These Things. 2012. Acrylic, collage, ink, and pencil on canvas. 53” x 70”
The Station. 1918. Oil on canvas. 65cm x 81cm
The Railway Crossing. 1919. Oil on canvas. 53.8cm x 64.8cm
Un disque dans la Ville. 1919. Oil on canvas. 65cm x 54cm
Contrast of Forms. 1913. Oil on burlap. 130.2cm x 97.6cm
Les grands plonguers noirs (The big black divers). 1944, in America. Oil on canvas. 189cm x 221cm
The Mechanic. 1920, in America. Oil on canvas. 115.9cm x 88.9cm