“The object in modern painting must become the main character and overthrow the subject. If, in turn, the human form becomes an object, it can considerably liberate possibilities for the modern artist.”
Fernand Léger apprenticed with an architect, served in the French military, and worked as an architectural draftsman and photographic retoucher. Léger joined other avant-garde Parisian artists in forming the Section d’Or, a collective influenced by Cubist forms. In 1919 Léger’s “mechanical period” began, characterized by chunky, simplified volumes employed in the composition of a figure or pictorial setting. This was followed by experimentation in different media: printmaking, set design, costumes, film, and murals. He also became a teacher, co-founding the Académie de l’Art Moderne at his Montparnasse studio in 1924.
Let Léger inspire your students to:
- Create a composition using construction paper, then outline and add details with a black marker.
- Cut and arrange paint chips to create an abstract or figurative collage.
- Create a landscape using only shapes cut from colored paper.
Find out more from The Museum of Modern Art:
Three Women, gallery label text, publication excerpts
Ballet mécanique, publication excerpts