Fernand Léger and the city
A Liveable Painting
Integrating painting into architecture 23 March
Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
Projet pour une meinture murale « Vulcania », 1951
Donation Nadia Léger et Georges Bauquier
Musée national Fernand Léger, Biot, inv. MNFL 95009
© A.D.A.G.P. 2013
Vernissage Saturday 23 March 2013 at 11 am
Exhibition organised by the National Museum's of the 20th Century of Alpes-Maritimes
Holder the 20th Century Heritage Label awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Communication in November 2000, the National Fernand Léger museum, built by André Svetchine in 1960 and enlarged by Bernard Schoebel in 1990, invites you to (re)discover the decorative art for heritage sites conserved in its collections which communicates the artist's creative power very effectively.
First part of this themed exhibition: 'A Liveable Painting' provides a chronological view of the preparatory works to integrate painting into urban spaces, which Léger designed from the 1920's until his death in 1955. The stained glass windows, tapestries and ceramics on permanent display in the museum's rooms will therefore begin a dialogue, over the three months of the exhibition, with the studies usually kept in the museum's stores and which, despite their fragility will be accessible to visitors, for this exhibition.
Born in the Normandy countryside in 1881, Fernand Léger was deeply inspired by the aesthetics of the city when he arrived in Paris on 1900. Coming to train as an architect, he was fascinated by the constant movement in the streets, by the contrast of shapes and colours, which defined this new space of the modern man. The artist's pictorial production, his models for works on heritage sites, his films, the shows in which he participated, his conferences and his writings all evoke the urban context - already saturated by advertisements, the world of technology but also of leisure and social wellbeing. Like in the Byzantine period or cathedrals, artists must, according to him, naturally find their place in the design and embellishment of the city.
1 Fernand Léger, Preparatory work for a mural painting "Vulcania", 1951, oil on canvas, donated by Nadia and Georges Bauquier to the National Fernand Léger Museum © RMN-Grand Palais / Gérard Blot © ADAGP, Paris 2013
Thanks to the rich collection donated to the State by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier in 1969, the close relations between the artist the greatest architects on his time such as Le Corbusier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Wallace K. Harrison, Paul Nelson, Maurice Novarina, Carlos Villanueva and Oscar Niemeyer, are brought to light. It was therefore as a builder that Fernand Léger developed his pictorial aesthetics for social revolution, made famous by works for heritage sites such as the mosaics of litanies of the Virgin Mary for the façade of the church of Notre-Dame-de-Toute-Grâce on the plateau of Assy in Haute-Savoie (1950) or the fresco of ‘Le Transport des forces’ commissioned by the French State for the International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques of the Modern World in Paris in 1937, currently displayed in the Palais de la Découverte and for which Fernand Léger has the study. Despite everything, the artist produced few urban works; some however were completed at the end of his life, after returning from exile in America in 1945.
Entitled "The spectacle of modern life" (6 July - 7 October 2013), the second part of the exhibition will offer an original dialogue between the 29 plates of the lithographic album "La Ville" (The City) published by Tériade in 1959 from the artist's gouaches (collection of the National Fernand Léger Museum) and photographs of urban landscapes or reproduced in the magazines (Robert Doisneau, André Kertesz, William Klein, François Kollar, Roger Parry...) notably from the Multimedia library of Architecture and Heritage in Paris.
Head Curator: Maurice Fréchuret, Director of the National Museums of the 20th Century of Alpes-Maritimes
Curator: Diana Gay, curator at the National Fernand Léger museum
T+ 33(0)6 60 98 49 88
T +33 0)6 70 74 38 71
T +33(0)4 93 53 75 73
National Fernand Léger Museum
Chemin du Val de Pôme 06410 Biot (France)
+33 (0)4 92 91 50 30
Opening times: every day except Tuesday and 1 May from 10 am to 5 pm, closes at 6 pm after 2 May.
Tickets: €5.50, Concessions: €4, Groups: 5 € (from 10 people) including the permanent collections.
Free for visitors under 26 (EU nationals and long residence in EU) and for everyone, the first Sunday of the month.
Adult audio guides for visitors in French, English, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese.
Electronic media guides in LSF and children's audio guides for visitors in French and English (identity card requested).
Bookings for guided tours and workshops
T +33(0)4 92 9150 26 firstname.lastname@example.org
Museum restaurant T+33(0)4 92 91 50 22
Book shop-Gift shop
T+33(0)4 92 91 50 20 F+33(0)4 92 91 50 31 email@example.com
Text by Eve Roy (PhD in History of Art, Lecturer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Marseille, researcher at INAMA research laboratory / ENSA Marseille, author): can soon be downloaded at: www.musee-fernandleger.fr