Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger

pseudonym: -

birth data

date of birth: 1881

place of birth: Argentan

death data

date of death: 1955

death: Gif-sur-Yvette


The French artist Fernand Léger was born on 4 February 1881 in Argentan in Normandy. The technology enthusiast Léger created a monumental, mechanistic image of modern man by processing a number of different artistic influences. Léger attended art classes at a young age at the École des Arts Décoratifs and the Académie Julian in Paris. Around 1900 he created his first paintings that were influenced by Impressionism. Strongly influenced by Cézannes work, he freed himself from Impressionism. The formal language of the Cubists Picasso and Braque also influenced Légers pictorial world. From around 1909 onwards Léger evolved his own reduced style. His works were exhibited at the renowned art dealers, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who made Léger well known. From 1914 until 1917 Léger fought in World War I. His experience of modern technology during the war and his confrontation with neo-Classicism were to condition his later work. Léger constructed his Cubist works using tubular shapes, cubes, cones, circles and wheel fragments. After the 1930s Légers style became more naturalistic and revealed the influence of Surrealism. Following the occupation of France the artist emigrated to the USA in 1940 where he lived until 1945. Apart from his work as an artist he also held a teaching post at Yale University. Léger returned to Paris in 1945 and became a member of the Communist Party. Among other commisions he designed a large wall mural for the General Assembly Hall in the UN Building in New York. Fernand Léger died on 17 August 1955 in Gif-sur-Yvette near Paris.