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Fernand Léger

"I hate discrete paintings."


Notes of biography

Joseph Fernand Henri Leger was born in 1881 in Argentan, France. He apprentices with an architect from 1897–1899. Fernand Leger moves to Paris in 1900. Three years later he is refused at the School of Fine Arts, but is admitted to the School of Decorative Arts. He frequents the Julian Academy and the Louvre. Leger is employed by an architect, then by a photographer. He paints impressionist painting that he will destroy for the most part. The Cezanne retrospective, in 1906, will impress him durably.
In 1908 he moves to Ruche; here he meets Chagall, Delaunay, Cendrars, Appolinaire, Modigliani and Laurens. In the following year he begins his cubist period. His work interestes Daniel-Henry Kahnvwiller who has already exhibited Picasso and Braque. Leger participates in several collective exhibitions (Salon des Independants, Salon d’Automne, Salon de la Section d’Or, etc.). He signs an exclusivity contract for 3 years with Kahnweiller in 1913, and participates in the Armory Show in New York.
Summoned to war, Leger becomes a hospital porter on the Argonne front; he will paint numerous war paintings. Gassed in Verdun, he is hospitalized, then discharged in 1917.
His first solo exhibition is organized in 1919 by Leonce Rosenberg with whom he will sign a contract. In this same year he illustrates Cendrars (« The End of the World filmed by Ange Notre-Dame »), and he marries. Leger works alot, he meets Le Corbusier, discovers Modrian and Van Doesburg, again illustrates Yvan Goll and Malraux, collaborates with Cendrars in the film « The Wheel » by Abel Gance, designs theatre sets and costumes, and gives conferences.
In 1924, with Amedee Ozenfant, he founds the Modern Academy. He paints a large mural for the french embassy at the time of the International Decorative Arts Exhibition and participates in the decoration of the pavillion of « the New Spirit » by Le Corbusier. Leger travels to Germany, meets Calder, goes to Spain in 1930 with his friend Le Corbusier, with whom he will also travel to Greece in 1933 for the International Congress of Architecture. In 1934 the Vignon Gallery presents his gouaches and paintings. He discovers Antibes, exhibits, travels again, paints, then again decorates architectural spaces. In 1935 a retrospective of his work is organized in New York.
The unweary Leger, is exiled to the United States during the war, he there gives conferences (the action of color in architecture), paints murals and decorates spectacles, lectures at the University of Yale, then at Mills College. He returns to France when the war is over and enlists in the french communist party. He makes mosaics for the church of the Plateau in Assy.
Until his death in 1955 in Gif-sur-Yvette, Fernand Leger will work, creating paintings, drawings, mosaics, decorations, stain-glass, illustrations, sets for theatres and ceramics.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
*« Drawings and gouaches », J. Cassou & J. Leymarie, Chêne Ed., Paris, 1972 All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « F. Léger, vivre dans le vrai », G. Bauquier, Maeght Ed., 1987
  • « L’abcdaire de Léger », C. Derouet & autres, Flammarion, Paris, 1997
  • « F. Léger, peindre la vie moderne », A. Pierre, Découvertes Gallimard, 1997
  • « Fernand Léger », cat d'expo.., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1997
  • « Fernand Léger », Pierre Descargues, Ed. Cercle d'Art, (1955) rééd. 1997
  • « F. Léger: The monumental art », Y. Brunhammer, P. Descargues, Ed. 5 Continents, 2008
  • « Fernand Léger », Kenneth E. Silver, Assouline Publishing, 2012
  • « Léger: Modern art and the Metropolis », A. Vallye et autres, Ed. Yale Un. Press, 2013
  • « Fernand Léger: Painting in space », Katia Baudin, Hirmer Publishers, 2016
  • « Fernand Léger », A. Coulondre, cat. d'expo., Ed. Centre Pompidou Metz, 2017
To read from the artist :
  • « Entretiens », avec Blaise Cendras et Louis Carré, Ed. Louis Carré, 1956
  • « Fonctions de la peinture », Ed. Gonthier, 1965 / rééd. Gallimard, 1997
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Art movements

+ CUBISM / 1907-1925 / Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, Charles Dufresne, Jacques Lipchitz, Jean Metzinger, etc.
+ ARMORY SHOW / 1913 / Constantin Brancusi, Charles Camoin, Marcel Duchamp, Edward Hopper, Joseph Stella, etc.
+ PURISM / 1920-1927 / Marcelle Cahn, Otto Gustav Carlsund, etc.
+ SOCIAL REALISM / 1920-1950 / André Fougeron, Otto Griebel, Amédée de la Patellière, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover