> le musée et ses collections > Fernand Léger, biography > 1940-1945 :The American exile. Outside colour.
The American exile. Outside colour.
When war broke out, Léger sought refuge from France in New York, “the most amazing show in the world”. This American period was particularly creative. With the series Divers and Cyclists, Léger invented the principle of outside colour – by which he separated colour and form. He taught at Mills College in California and set up his studio in New York in the winter and in Rouses Point in the summer. He renewed ties with his exiled friends such as the composer Darius Milhaud and painters united around Pierre Matisse’s gallery.
In 1945, Fernand Léger joined the French Communist Party and returned to France, where he settled back into his studio on rue Notre-Dame-des-Champs and opened a new school first in Montrouge, then in Paris.