*1881 in Argentan, France
†1955 in Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Fernand Léger was one of the leading artists of the twentieth century, whose personal abstract style was termed Tubism, and associated with Purism. The painter, sculptor, and filmmaker adapted cubism into a more figurative populist style, which has been regarded as a harbinger of the Pop Art movement, due to the simplification he employed in the treatment of his compositions. In 1897–9 he was apprenticed to an architect in Caen, then in 1900 settled in Paris, where he supported himself as an architectural draughtsman whilst studying art at the Académie Julian. In 1912 he had his first one-man exhibition, held at the seminal dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler's gallery, and he was beginning to prosper when the First World War interrupted his career. He enlisted in the army and served on the front lines as a sapper, which lead to his love for the beauty of machinery. In the years following, Leger’s work showed a fascination with machine-like forms and his paintings became flatter and more-stylized. He taught widely through the 1930s and founded his own school named, Académie de l'Art Moderne. Léger's work of the war years included pictures of acrobats, cyclists, and musicians, and after his return to France in 1945 he concentrated on the human figure rather than the machine. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Albertina, Vienna; the Menil Collection, Houston; and the Centre George Pompidou, Paris.