Accueil >F.Leger > le musée et ses collections > Fernand Léger, biography > 1918-1930 : Painting modern life. Towns, machines and objects.

1918-1930

Painting modern life. Towns, machines and objects.


After the war, the town and machinery became the painter’s exclusive themes. Inspired by modern life, Léger promoted a “new realism”, bestowed upon the plastic beauty of industrial civilisation. Mindful that painting was up against the show of the large city, into his compositions he weaved urban signals and mechanical motifs, while reducing the human figure – desensualised and standardised – to mere geometry. In the 1920s, a whole host of partnerships paved the way to other creative avenues for the painter, including literature, live shows and architecture … Fascinated by cinema, Léger worked with the directors Abel Gance and Marcel L’Herbier. He particularly produced Le Ballet mécanique (1924), considered to be “the first script-less film” and an experience which prompted him to take up the close-up principle in his paintings again. Taking centre stage in his work, the object shook off the shackles of weightiness in the series Objects in space.