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Leger, Fernand

*1881 Argentan (France) – †1955 Gif-sur-Yvette (France)

Fernand Léger was not originally destined to become a painter. Studying architecture in accordance with his mother’s wishes, he soon made his first attempts at painting, which almost automatically brought him into contact with architectural cubism. After meeting with artist colleagues at the École de Paris and studying at the Paris École des Arts Décoratifs, a unique style took shape in his pictures: a reduced language of forms with rich contrasts, in striking colours, sometimes separated, sometimes combined by a playful black. Léger created monumental works about social topics such as industrialisation, the workers’ movement and city development, but also poetic still lifes and portraits. He also worked on sculptures, wall mosaics and church windows.

His prints comprise merely 150 works, almost exclusively lithographs. Almost half of the work numbers consist of original prints made for the stunning Cirque portfolio, one of the most important artist’s books of the 20th century.

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