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Fernand Leger Biography


Born in 1881 in Lower Normandy, French artist Josef Fernand Henri Léger was a painter, sculptor and also a filmmaker. He initially built his reputation as a Cubist, blending it with his own unique style, which became known as ‘tubism’. In 1911, the Salon des Indépendants showcased his work alongside that of Delaunay, Metzinger and Gleizes as a wider introduction to the Cubist movement. However, over time, his style evolved into more figurative and populist styles.

Léger was a teacher for many years, including time first at the Académie Vassilieff in Paris and later the Yale School of Art and Architecture. His students now form an influential list in modern art. In 1924, he founded a free school for modern art in Paris, teaching alongside Marie Laurencin and Aleksandra Ekster.

One of Léger’s best-known paintings is Three Women (Le Grand Déjeuner), painted in 1921. Léger’s legacy is that of a central player within the pop art world, due to his bold, simplistic treatment of modern subject matters. His work consistently used primary colours, bold shapes and patterns and graphic form. Léger continued to make art and films throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and died in on 17 August 1955 in France.

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