Léger, Fernand

Léger, Fernand

biographical name


Fernand Léger, photograph by Arnold Newman, 1941.—© Arnold Newman

(born Feb. 4, 1881, Argentan, Fr.—died Aug. 17, 1955, Gif-sur-Yvette) French painter. Born to a peasant family, he worked as an architectural draftsman in Paris before studying art. Influenced by Paul Cézanne and early Cubism, Léger developed a painting style that combined bold colours with geometric and cylindrical forms arranged in highly disciplined compositions. His best-known works celebrated modern industrial technology by emphasizing shapes derived from machine parts. Though he was seriously injured in World War I, his art continued to affirm his faith in modern life and popular culture. In 1924 he conceived and directed Ballet mécanique, a nonnarrative film with photography by Man Ray.

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