Fernand Léger was a French painter who made a unique contribution to Cubism. Along with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Léger crafted idiosyncratic methods of depicting three-dimensional objects in pictorial space. Born on February 4, 1881 in Argentan, France, Léger apprenticed with an architect before moving to Paris in 1900, where he worked as an architectural draftsman. While taking courses at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian, he came under the influence of Paul Cézanne, Picasso, and Braque. Around 1905, the artist developed his hallmark style of tubular forms and mechanical imagery. He would go on to create the avant-garde film Ballet Mécanique (1924) and design murals for Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau (1925). By the end of World War II, Léger’s paintings had become increasingly abstract, with color transparencies floating amidst boldly drawn figures and objects.
Léger was a participant in the 1941 Summer Sessions at Mills College, where he taught and had a solo exhibition at the Mills College Art Museum.