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Fernand Léger

(1881-1955)

Aliases: Fernand Léger, Jules Fernand Henri Léger, Fedinand Leger

Painter, Lithographer, Illustrator, Draft draughtsman

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Biography

(b Argentan, France, 1881; d Gif-sur-Yevtt, France, 1955) French painter. Fernand Léger was initially trained as an architect from 1897 to 1899. After his military service in Versailles in 1902-1903, he enrolled at the School of Decorative art, and attended classes at the Beaux-Arts. By age of 25, he began working as a serious painter, and his artwork showed a strong influence of Impressionism. When Léger saw the post-Impressionist compositions at Cézanne's memorial exhibition in 1907, he was astonished by how the artist could reveal the geometry inherent in the body. By 1912, the grip of Cézanne's influence had reached its intensity, propelling Léger into a creative exorcism for the sake of his more avant-garde aspirations. Léger has been associated with various avant-garde movement in Europe in the 20th century, he was one of the first artists who captured the watershed moment when he pushed beyond figuration, an idiosyncratic version of Picasso and Braque’s cubist gesture described by critic, Louis Vauxcelles, as “Tubism” in 1911. In each successful painting, Léger addresses this dichotomy of modernity versus tradition, varying the level of description from picture to picture, and each picture is part of a continuum that illustrated the artist's aesthetic concept at a given point. (Sotheby’s, New York, Impressionist Part I, May 7, 2008, Lot 16)

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