Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
French painter from Normandy. He studied architecture in Caen and settled in Paris. In the French capital he approached art and attended art academies in Paris, coming into contact with the protagonists of contemporary art and the avant-garde of the early twentieth century. These contacts led him to adhere to the canons Impressionists, Fauves, and finally Cubism: its landmarks are Cézanne, Picasso and Braque. In 1911, he exhibited at the Salon des Independants the painting “Nude in the forest,” one of the foundational works of cubism: his works were characterized by dynamic rhythms of lines, volumes and colors. After the First World War, he showed an interest for the industrial world, creating works in which the human presence leaves is replaced by cars and symbols of the new technological civilization. While his painting moved gradually towards the dissolution of form, Leger recovered the human figure in geometric and symbolic key. During his career, he didn’t restrict himself to painting on a canvas: his projects ranged from the illustration of books to murals, from stained glass windows to mosaics, from ceramic sculptures to designs for sets and costumes. In the last phase of his life, he won the prestigious Grand Prix of the Biennial of Sao Paulo. Today in Biot (25 km from Nice), there is a museum entirely dedicated to Léger’s works.