” The work of Fernand Léger permits of no equivalent but proclaims two certainties.
Firstly, that the artist considers poetry to be a constant minute to minute living with nature and not a mere outcome of aesthetics.
In the second place that he seeks significance in all things but does not expect to find it in any vague underlying world”.
Christian Zervos about Fernand Léger in the introduction of the book “Fernand Léger”, 1952
Fernand Léger collaborated with Cahiers d’Art continuously throughout his lifetime, featuring in over 19 issues of the Revue, which closely tracked the developments in his practice, career, and philosophy. He was the subject of a very important publication by Cahiers d’Art, a monograph of his works from 1905 to 1952 by Christian Zervos, edited in 1952. In addition, Christian Zervos will write five articles in different issues on Fernand Léger. Before that, Tériade had already edited a monograph in 1928, also published by Cahiers d’Art, and had devoted an article to him the same year studying Fernand Léger’s recent works. The artist made a stencil from the gouache specially made for the cover of the 1949 magazine. Fernand Léger was present from the first issue in 1926 until the last year of publication, in 1960, when, in issue number 4, an article presenting the Musée Léger in Biot was published. In 1933, a special issue was published (n°3-4) with no less than 166 illustrations. In 1956-1957, Dora Vallier wrote an article on “Le carnet inédit de Léger – Esquisse pour un portrait”, which was accompanied by 38 reproductions of his works. It is then obvious that Leger is one of the leading artists for Cahiers d’Art, the richness of their collaborations testifies.
Photo : Fernand Léger and Christian Zervos in Léger’s workshop 86 rue Notre-Dame-des-champs, Paris 1929. Photograph by Georges Allié. Courtesy Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Fonds Cahiers d’Art.
Fernand Léger is a French painter, born in 1881 in Argentan, Normandy. In addition to painting, he is a multidisciplinary artist, having tried many creative activities: illustration, tapestry, ceramics, stained glass, sculpture, decoration. He moved to Paris in 1900, he attended the School of Decorative Arts and the Academy Julian. Around Montparnasse, and then at La Ruche, he became part of the Parisian art world, and met Robert Delaunay, Marc Chagall, Blaise Cendrars. He was very receptive to cubism and gravitated towards Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger and the Duchamp brothers. In 1917, reformed at the end of the year, he signed a contract with the dealer Léonce Rosenberg. From 1933, with Le Corbusier whom he had been seeing for several years, he participated in the International Congress of Modern Architects (CIAM). In 1940 he moved to New York, which inspired him to create new large compositions. Since his first works, he never abandoned the techniques of engraving and lithography, he produced a large quantity. Five years after his death in 1955 in Gif-sur-Yvette, his heirs created the Fernand Léger Museum in Biot.