The aircraft in the sky
1939 - 1952
Oil on canvas
73 x. 92 cm
Donated by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier,
Musée national Fernand Léger, Inv MNFL 98002.
The French Ministry for National Education called on Léger to decorate the aviation centre in Briey, not far from Nancy, with a fresco. But with the declaration of war in 1939, the project never got off the ground. The motif of the red, white and blue roundel, the insignia of French aviation, had already been used by Léger in 1914 on his drawings of planes shot down at the front. Here, the famous roundel pays tribute to French aviation, several paintings from 1939 of which were abandoned and then reworked in 1952. The plant forms overlap the clouds here on a bright yellow background; other versions on a blue background present a different architectonics with the effect of making the wall stand out.