Fernand LEGER


Born in Argentan, France, Fernand Léger trained as an architect from 1897 to 1899. Knowing his calling was in arts, he enrolled at the School of Decorative Art between 1902-1903 while he also studied at Académie Julian. A turning point in Léger’s art came in 1907 when he attended the Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne, and he began to focus on drawing and geometry in his paintings. In 1909, Léger moved from Paris to Montparnasse where he met leaders of the Avant-garde movement such as Robert Delaunay, Lipchitz and Marc Chagall. Léger along with Metzinger, Gleizes, Le Fauconnier known as the Cubists presented the concept of Cubism to the public. During this period Léger began with his own interpretation of Cubism typified with the predominance of cylindrical forms in his paintings.

From 1920 after his military service in World War I, Leger’s paintings took on a more mechanical approach with strong contours and evenly blended colours. In 1927, his style evolved to adopt a more organic and irregular form. From 1945 onwards Leger paid a greater emphasis on the theme of the common man, such as the use of common objects in his paintings as the core subject. Besides painting, Leger was also involved in film projects, book illustrations, murals, stained glass windows, mosaics, ceramic sculptures and even set designs for theatre.

Always passionate about art, Leger taught in Académie Vassilieff in Paris, then in 1931 at the Sorbonne, after which in 1942, he formed own Académie Fernand Léger in Paris. After World War II, Leger moved to the United States where he taught at the Yale School of Art and Architecture (1938-1939), Mills College Art Gallery in Oakland, California during 1940-1945, before he returned to France where he revitalised his art school. Amongst the many students Leger has taught, some subsequently became internationally renowned artists; notably Marcel Mouly, Tsuguharu Foujita and Sam Francis. With some of his paintings sold for multi-million dollars, Leger’s works are some of the most highly prized in the art world and collected by prestigious museums and astute art collectors around the world.


Fernand Leger, Etude pour
Fernand Leger, Etude pour les constructeurs, circa 1951-52
Fernand Leger, L'écuyère, 1953
Fernand Leger, La femme au perroquet, 1950
Fernand Leger, Le chandelier sur fond jaune, 1950
Fernand Leger, Les deux couteaux, 1949
Fernand Leger, La Danseuse (recto-verso), 1931
Fernand Leger, Les trois soleils, 1953
Fernand Leger, Baigneuses sur la plage, 1942
Fernand Leger, Etude pour la façade de l’église Notre-Dame-de-toute-grâce (plateau d’Assy, Haute Savoie), 1947