Fernand Léger, Contraste de formes, 1913, oil on canvas, 31 7/8 x 25 5/8".


Fernand Léger

Fondation Beyeler
Baselstrasse 101
June 1–September 7, 2008

Curated by Philippe Büttner

Though active until his death, in 1955, Fernand Léger has long been almost exclusively associated with the tubular forms he deployed in response to Cubism and the machine iconography of the interwar era. Needless to say, his work is ripe for rethinking. Gathering approximately ninety paintings from 1912 to 1954, this show, organized by Philippe Büttner, surveys the French artist's full career while placing an unprecedented emphasis on the transformative years he spent in the United States during World War II. In light of his new American milieu, Léger repurposed his style, his work becoming brighter and more figurative, arguably influencing a number of Pop artists—including Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol—whose work will also be on view. This accent on legacy befits an artist who once claimed that everything is “method” and that “the only interesting thing is how it is used.”