The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Friday, November 24, 2017

Fernand Léger: Reconstructing Reality" opens at Musée national Fernand Léger
Fernand Léger, Nature morte au masque de plâtre, 1927. Huile sur toile, 89 x 130 cm. Riehen/Bâle, Fondation Beyeler © Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Beyeler collection. Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel © Adagp, Paris 2014.

BIOT.- Although he is classed as a ‘realist’ painter in phase with modern life; from the twenties to just after World War 2 Fernand Léger combined objects in disconcerting ways, played with differences in scale, let objects float in space and used biomorphic motifs. He stayed true to “realism in conception,” which he defined as realism in line, form and colour, but he was receptive to the experimental art of the Surrealists. He made friends with Man Ray and Duchamp and, during his exile in the United States, he moved in the same circles as Masson, Tanguy, Matta, Breton and Ernst and made no secret of his friendship with the Surrealists, particularly at the “Artists in Exile” exhibition at the Pierre Matisse gallery in New York in March 1942.

A close look at Léger’s oeuvre reveals currents that could be compared to precepts characteristic of Surrealism.

Contrasting Objects and Disruption of Scale
Contrasting shapes are a fundamental part of Léger’s experiments in art, but incongruous combinations of objects are not unusual in his work. The object is freed from all constraints and becomes an entity in its own right: an umbrella, a compass, a box of matches, a splayed bunch of keys, ball bearings, a baluster, a typewriter, a bowler hat… all figure in Léger’s iconography and, as in Mona Lisa with Keys, create sharp contrasts and random encounters, ultimately quite close to the Surrealists’ idea of objective chance. Let us not forget that the Surrealists took a line from Lautréamont “Beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella,” Les Chants de Maldoror as one of the definitions of their aesthetic.

Looking for a New Space: Objects out of Context and Floating in Space
Like the Surrealists, Leger was fascinated by window displays, that often odd assortment of things freed from their usual context. His oeuvre went through a period known as “objects in space.” It seems to go from the monumental to the sculptural and puts the priority on reverse perspective, which can be seen in his whirling compositions. His creations in this period seem to culminate in a sort of visual oxymoron, in which initially inert objects are suddenly brought to life by being set in motion. In his earlier compositions objects stood on tables or stands as if anchored in reality, now they are released from the laws of gravity: they float weightless against an often plain coloured background sometimes tethered only by cords, strands, plaits or ribbons.

Often interested in the life sciences, many artists in this period used a formal vocabulary that could be called “biomorphism”. Artists such as Arp, Miro, Tanguy and Dali adopted this language to forge a link between the real and the imaginary. Between 1929 and 1933 Léger left the world of machines and industry and turned to natural forms he found in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. He was strongly influenced by Jean Painlevé, whose science films broadened visual awareness of the time by scrutinising the microscopic world. Léger turned away from the fast-paced spectacle of modern life and took a slower approach to reality. He floated soft, flexible abstract forms, vaguely resembling organisms, against the neutral backgrounds of his objects in space series.

Objects Detached from Reality
A strange series of black and white drawings, reminiscent of printing techniques in the play of light and shade, reveals painstaking research. Objects from Léger’s everyday surroundings (a jacket, gloves, spectacles, a compass…) undergo a sort of metamorphosis as parts are blown up and the context changes. After intense observation of reality, imagination takes hold and the drawings are filled with an entirely new lyrical power.

The exhibition at the Musée des beaux-arts, Nantes and the Musée national Fernand Léger, Biot, in 2014, explores the relationship between Léger’s oeuvre and surrealist precepts which look, at first glance, quite foreign to it. “Fernand Léger: Reconstructing Reality” brings out the similarities between worlds that seem far apart, but, being contemporary, nonetheless show some affinities.

Today's News

March 1, 2014

First major monographic exhibition on Paul Gauguin ever presented at MoMA opens

Francesco Guardi masterpiece to be offered for the first time in over a century

Fernand Léger: Reconstructing Reality" opens at Musée national Fernand Léger

James Ensor prints from the Mira Jacob Collection to be offered at Christie's

Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition is an insight into the artistic evolution of the Group of Seven founding member

Christie's exhibits works by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the Collection of Alexis Adler

New exhibition at Penn Museum challenges preconceptions about Native Americans

Outstanding Henry Moore works from Osborne Samuel to be shown at TEFAF Maastricht

Galerie Jaeger Bucher opens Michael Biberstein Fundraising exhibition to complete Santa Isabel Church ceiling

First US retrospective of the work of Émilie Charmy opens at The Arts Club of Chicago

Spectacular variety of elegantly painted Japanese screens unfold at Bonhams New York

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents "Jeff Wall Tableaux Pictures Photographs 1996-2013"

Landscapes With Water: Peres Projects, Berlin opens exhibition of works by Dan Attoe

World's most innovative new portraits go on display in Wolverhampton

University of Sydney photographic exhibition traces Pacific history

First solo exhibition in Belgium by Lebanese-born artist Akram Zaatari opens at Wiels

Mei Xian Qiu's first exhibition with Kopeikin Gallery opens in Los Angeles

Apex public auction 130 rare singles steal the show

First U.S. retrospective of Paul Evans' work opens at Michener Art Museum

BachmannEckenstein to present landscape focused exhibition during Asia Week New York

"Jules de Balincourt: Misfit Island" opens at Rochechouart Museum of Contemporary Art

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Design Museum in London opens major exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of Ferrari

2.- 'Salvator Mundi' by Leonardo da Vinci sells for $450mn in auction record: Christie's

3.- Pricing the priceless: the $450mn Da Vinci record

4.- Marc Chagall's "Les Amoureux" sets auction record at $28.5 million at Sotheby's

5.- Jackson Pollock's largest painting makes DC debut at the National Gallery of Art

6.- First major exhibition to reposition the history of 18th-century Mexican painting opens

7.- Exhibition brings together the largest group of original drawings by Michelangelo

8.- Rare Holocaust 'bread card' brooch recovered near Auschwitz

9.- Exhibition presents an homage to the late French artist Raymond Hains by Jérémy Demester

10.- China's futuristic library: More fiction than books

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful