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The Art Story Homepage Artists Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger Photo

Fernand Léger

French Painter

Movements and Styles: Cubism, Purism

Born: February 4, 1881 - Argentan, France

Died: August 17, 1955 - Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Fernand Léger Timeline

"Let us organize outer life in our domain: form, color, light."

Fernand Léger Signature

Summary of Fernand Léger

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.

Key Ideas

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 20th-century art.
Fernand Léger with British model Anne Gunning in his Paris studio (1955)
Fernand Léger with British model Anne Gunning in his Paris studio (1955)

“I was stunned by the sight of the breech of a 75 millimeter in the sunlight. It was the magic of light on the white metal. That's all it took for me to forget the abstract art of 1912–13” Léger famously said of his experience serving in World War I. He went on to pioneer his distinctive visual idiom, painting “in slang with all its color and mobility” to take on a modern vibe.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Fernand Léger
Interactive chart with Fernand Léger's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Show influences


Claude MonetClaude Monet
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Marc ChagallMarc Chagall
Chaim SoutineChaim Soutine

Personal Contacts

Piet MondrianPiet Mondrian
Le CorbusierLe Corbusier
Guillaume ApollinaireGuillaume Apollinaire
Robert DelaunayRobert Delaunay
Amédée OzenfantAmédée Ozenfant


Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger
Years Worked: 1905 - 1955
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist


Hans ArpHans Arp
Roy LichtensteinRoy Lichtenstein
James RosenquistJames Rosenquist
Ellsworth KellyEllsworth Kelly
Frank StellaFrank Stella

Personal Contacts

Alvar AaltoAlvar Aalto
Paul EluardPaul Eluard
Paul RosenbergPaul Rosenberg
Hans RichterHans Richter


Mexican MuralismMexican Muralism
Social RealismSocial Realism
Pop ArtPop Art

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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 05 Apr 2014. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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