Tag Archive | Fernand Leger

Modern Art Monday Presents: Fernand Leger, The Builders

The Builders
Photo By Gail

The quintessential painter of the machine age, Fernand Leger observed the effects of modern technology in the trenches as a soldier in the French army during World War I. Featuring workers whose bodies appear to be assembled from standardized industrial parts, The Builders (1920) exemplifies the style he developed after the war. Unlike the toiling laborers of Thomas Hart Benton’s mural, America Today, the builders here fuse seamlessly with the scaffolding and gears around them, as though they are part of one, harmonious machine. In the 1930s and 1940s. Leger would go on to make his own murals, featuring abstracted images of industry and machine power.

Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Fernand Leger, Mechanical Elements

Mechanical Elements
Photo By Gail

Fernand Leger arranged impersonal elements of a new machine age like a cheerful assembly of children’s building blocks in Mechanical Elements (1920). Initially, his infatuation with modern technology did not go over well with collectors. As the artist later recalled, “For two years, Leonce Rosenberg, my dealer at the time, could not sell any of the work from my ‘mechanical period,’ while the mandolins of the Cubists moved briskly.”

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Fernand Léger, Woman with a Cat

Woman with a Cat
Photo By Gail

Woman with a Cat (1921) belongs to group of monumental female figures that Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955) painted throughout the 1920s. Motionless and frontal, this nude might be made of stone or metal, evoking at once a classical sculpture and a futurist robot. While Léger’s subject is rooted in European, particular French, artistic traditions, his streamlined style reflects contemporary design aesthetics that the painter’s friend, the architect Le Corbusier, advocated and popularized.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Charles Biederman, Untitled

Charles Biederman Untitled
Photo By Gail

The strong three-dimensionality of the biomorphic and geometric forms in this composition makes them appear animated within a space bounded by color zones. Charles Biederman (1906 – 2004) had been experimenting with styles of European modernism since 1930 and had gravitated toward greater abstraction after seeing the work of Cubist artists, newly on view in New York. He painted this untitled work while living in Paris in 1936, under the fresh influences of surrealists Joan Miro and Fernand Leger, who preferred strange or oddly combined forms that were both unsettling and humorous.

Charles Biederman died at home in 2004 at the age of 98. His estate was given to the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, which has organized traveling exhibitions of Biederman’s work

Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Roy Lichtenstein, Stepping Out

Stepping Out
Photo By Gail

By the 1970’s, Lichtenstein turned his eye toward the history of art, appropriating figures and motifs from the first half of the twentieth century and repainting them with Benday dots – the means of shading in newsprint and magazine pictures – in his signature palette of bright primary colors. For Stepping Out, (1978), he took one of Fernand Leger’s famous compositions, Three Musicians (1944), and added a female figure whose dramatically reduced and displaced features resemble the Surrealist women painted by Picasso in the 1930s.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Stepping Out is part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Baluster By Fernand Léger

Fernand Leger The Baluster
Photo By Gail

Though Fernand Léger built his reputation as a Cubist, his style varied considerably from decade to decade, fluctuating between figuration and abstraction and showing influence from a wide range of sources. Léger worked in a variety of media including paint, ceramic, film, theater and dance sets, glass, print, and book arts. While his style varied, his work was consistently graphic, favoring primary colors, pattern, and bold form.

Léger embraced the Cubist notion of fracturing objects into geometric shapes, but retained an interest in depicting the illusion of three-dimensionality. Léger’s unique brand of Cubism was also distinguished by his focus on cylindrical form and his use of robot-like human figures that expressed harmony between humans and machines.

Influenced by the chaos of urban spaces and his interest in brilliant, primary color, Léger sought to express the noise, dynamism, and speed of new technology and machinery often creating a sense of movement in his paintings that captured the optimism of the pre-World War I period.

In its embrace of recognizable subject matter and the illusion of three dimensionality interspersed with or often simultaneous with experiments in abstraction and non-representation, Léger’s work synchronizes the often competing dualities in much of twentieth-century art.

(Above Courtesy of The Art Story Dot Org)

The Baluster, painted in 1925, is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and is on view in Painting and Sculpture I, Gallery 7, 5th Floor.