Fernand Léger (1881-1955) France

Fernand Léger was born in Argentan in northern France and is considered one of the great pioneers of modern art. At an early age Fernand Léger distinguished himself as a talented draftsman and he served as an apprentice to an architect in Caen at a very young age. Subsequently he studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris.

In the early twentieth century he developed his own style with inspiration drawn from Cezanne, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. The cubist style that Fernand Léger developed during this period was based on contrast between color and form. The 1920s were Léger's most creative decade during which time he was influenced by the new “modern life” and developed the “new realism.” He also found inspiration in the industrial society, including machinery, buildings and technical objects, which he portrayed as beautiful. He depicted people as geometric figures.

Fernand Léger was also a filmmaker and in 1924 he made the film “Le Ballet Mechanique.” In the 1920s he founded his own school of art, “Academie Moderne.” A decade later he moved to New York, which would become a dynamic art center for many great European artists during the second world war.

Fernand Léger was active until the end of his life and was honored shortly after his death with his own museum, the Musée Fernand Léger/Biot. His work is represented in most large museum collections worldwide.

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