Philadelphia Museum of Art opens Leger: Modern Art and the Metropolis

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Leger: Modern Art and the Metropolis an exhibition on view now through January 5, 2014.

Fernand Léger, The City, 1919. Oil on canvas, 7 feet 7 inches x 9 feet 9 1/2 inches (231.1 x 298.4 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Fernand Léger, The City, 1919. Oil on canvas, 7 feet 7 inches x 9 feet 9 1/2 inches (231.1 x 298.4 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris


This multimedia exhibition comprising 179 works, including loans from public and private collections in Europe and the United States, unites The City, a major work of 1919 by the French painter Fernand Leger (1881–1955) with other important paintings from this momentous period, and with key works in film, theater design, graphic and advertising design, and architecture by the artist and his avant-garde colleagues. Returning to Paris after military service in World War I, Léger encountered a changed city, infused with a new boisterous energy that would inspire him to create one of his landmark achievements, the monumental painting The City. The creation of this work signaled the beginning of the most experimental period in Léger’s work, lasting through the 1920s, when the artist challenged and redefined the practice of painting by bringing it into active engagement with the urban popular and commercial arts. Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis examines the centrality of this masterpiece in Léger’s career and for the European avant-garde in the years immediately after World War I, placing it in context with works by Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Cassandre, Amédée Ozenfant, Le Corbusier, Francis Picabia, Alexandra Exter, Gerald Murphy, and others.

In the United States, the exhibition is seen only in Philadelphia. Following its presentation at the Museum, it will travel to Venice where it will be on view at the Correr Museum, Piazza San Marco (a Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia institution)

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100, or visit the Museum’s website at www.philamuseum.org.

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