Timed to open the same week as Art Basel, the world’s largest and most important fair for modern and contemporary art, the Fondation Beyeler's retrospective of Fernand Léger (1881-1955) aims to provide a review of the key phases of the French artist's career and their influence on American artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly. Fernand Léger spent several periods in the U.S., the last from 1940-45 as an emigré in New York. He was impressed by the great country, its architecture, modernity and dynamism, and this left obvious traces in works of this period
Curated by Philippe Büttner, the exhibition opens with the Cubist early work, done in Paris, followed by the legendary series of paintings on big-city themes from the years after 1918. From the formally highly developed still lifes and figures of the 1920s and 30s, the presentation continues with the joie de vivre of the monumental Divers, then concludes with the late work and its revelling in color.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, containing essays by Christian Derouet, Brigitte Hedel-Samson, Yve-Alain Bois, Philippe Büttner, Raphaël Bouvier, and Daniel Kramer, an interview with Roy Lichtenstein by Katherine Jánszky Michaelsen, and a detailed biography of the artist by Nelly Maillard. Also included are statements by American artists on Léger, those by Ellsworth Kelly, James Rosenquist, and Kenneth Noland written expressly for this volume. The catalogue comprises 208 pages with 201 illustrations, 190 in full color, and is priced at CHF 68.
Fondation Beyeler Web Site