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Indepth Arts News:

"Fernand Léger: Selected by Brigitte Hedel-Samson"
2002-11-22 until 2003-01-26
Joan Miro Foundation
Barcelona, , ES

The Fundació Joan Miró’s major exhibition of the season is "Fernand Léger", selected by Brigitte Hedel-Samson, director of the Musée National Fernand Léger in Biot. The show will contain over 150 paintings and drawings, and is sponsored by the Fundación BBVA. This exhibition sets out to analyse Léger’s artistic career, showing him not only as a painter and draughtsman but as an all-round artist who took classical parameters as the starting point for establishing the patterns of modernism; a man of his times with an interest in the new technologies of the era. It covers the period from 1905, with his early paintings as a young man, to the large genre scenes of the fifties at the end of his life and his incursion into the world of films with Le ballet mécanique.

Brigitte Hedel-Samson, the curator, divides Léger’s career into six periods: 1905-1907, when he was trying to find his own style; 1918-1924, when he was working in a very personal Cubist style; 1925-1930, when he produced his highly original compositions based on contrasts of forms and colours; 1931-1940, when he returned to the figure; 1941-1945, which marked his American period; and 1946-1955 when he was back in France and receiving important commissions.

Fernand Léger (Argentan, 1881 – Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) was an avant-garde artist committed to modernism. His originality lies in having worked out his own style through observation and contemplation, retaining some of the more innovative elements of the early twentieth-century movements. This was what brought him close to Cubism – though with style of his own that was known as "tubism" on account of the robotic grey forms in his paintings – and to Constructivism as regards composition, while his interest in modern subjects such as speed, machines and war linked him with Futurism.

Léger constructed his paintings on the basis of contrasting forms and colours, shunning traditional compositions governed by the laws of perspective. These contrasts appeared constantly in his œuvre and in particular throughout his exploratory work of the twenties, with its flattened forms and bold colours, as well as later in the series of objects in space, and finally in what were known as the couleurs en dehors of the last years of his life.

Tying in with the exhibition will be a seminar on "Fernand Léger, different readings", in which leading specialists will discuss the artist’s life and work and his contributions to contemporary art. It has been organised in collaboration with the Department of History of Art at Barcelona University and the Department of Philosophy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and is sponsored by the Fundación BBVA. The speakers are Brigitte Hedel-Samson, Lourdes Cirlot, Tomàs Llorens, Fèlix Fanés, Jordi Ibáñez, Carolyn Lanchner, Valeriano Bozal, Katharina Schmidt, Jessica Jacques and Eric Michaud.

A catalogue will be published in three languages with articles by Brigitte Hedel-Samson, the curator of the exhibition; the art historian Eric Michaud; and Katharina Schmidt, former director of the Kunstmuseum, Basle.

Fernand Leger (1881-1955)
Huile sur toile
H. 277.5 x L. 186 cm
Donation Nadia Leger et Georges Bauquier, 1969
Musee national Fernand Leger, Biot. Inv. 98004.

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