Fernand Léger museum in Biot
Most people who visit the small charming town of Biot should stop by the Fernand Léger museum. It is located just a few kilometers from the center and is a very special art experience.
The museum is beautifully located, surrounded by a park-like garden, and the magnificent impressions of Léger’s works place this museum on the list of the Riviera’s best art museums.
Who was Fernand Léger?
Fernand Léger (1881-1955) was an important figure in Cubism and he was inspired by well-known artists such as Picasso and George Braque.
In his early works, he created his own form of cubism, known as tubism.
He grew up in a family that ran the cattle trade in Normandy. However, his own way of life became quite different when he was sent to Caen to train as an architect.
After studying architecture and after completing his military service in 1903, he, like many other well-known French artists, was admitted to the art school “L’école des Arts Décoratifs” in Paris.
During his studies at the art school, he made his living making architectural drawings and retouching photographs.
Fernand Léger was clearly influenced by World War I
Fernand Léger was drafted into service for the French Army in 1914 and spent two years on the front of the Argonne. In 1916, he nearly died after a German mustard gas attack.
During his subsequent convalescence stay in Villepinte, in 1917 he painted “The Card Players”, a painting that, with monstrous robot-like figures, came to define his future years. The painting was a clear expression of his experiences in the war.
The war in many respects came to define his artistic expression over the next ten years and his works from this period are today referred to as his “mechanical works”.
Throughout the 1930s, Léger expressed himself through more organic forms and in the 1950s he, again, renewed his idiom by using black contours together with colouredoverlapping surfaces.
A famous example of this is “The Great Parade” from 1954, which today is exhibited at the Guggenheim Art Museum in New York.
The exhibition in the Fernand Léger Museum
Although Fernand Léger was primarily a painter, he also unfolded in other art forms. Among other things, as a filmmaker in collaboration with Dudley Murphy, George Antheil and Man Ray, he created the futuristic film “Ballet Mécanique” from 1924. In his older days he also worked as a sculptor.
In 1949, he founded a small ceramic workshop in Biot, which has since been transformed into the Fernand Léger Museum, as we experience it today. It was his wife Nadia Khodasevich Léger who was the initiator of the museum.
10 interesting things about Fernand Léger
This video (in French) tells 10 interesting things that can be valuable information before a visit to the Fernand Léger museum.
In 2008, a Léger painting was sold for just under $ 40 million
That Fernand Léger is one of the world’s most sought-after artists today, a sale in the United States in 2008 clearly testifies. The painting “Étude pour la femme en bleu” was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for over a staggering $39,241,000.
By Tommy Sverre – 2022