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Fernand Leger
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Artist
    (February 4, 1881-August 17, 1955)
    Born in Argentan, France
    Birth name was Joseph Fernand Henri Leger
    Painter/sculptor/filmmaker
    Developed 'machine art' from elements of cubism, futurism and surrealism
    Works include 'Nudes in the Forest' (1910), 'The Card Players' (1917), 'The City' (1919), 'Nude on a Red Background' (1927), 'Two Sisters' (1935), 'Three Musicians' (1944), 'Romantic Landscape' (1946), 'The Constructors' (1950) and 'The Great Parade' (1954)
    Co-producer/co-director of the film 'Ballet Mechanique' (1924)
    He was rejected by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
    Until his art caught on, he supported himself as a photo retoucher.
    He joined the French Communist Party (1945).
    Critic Edward Lucie Smith wrote that he was 'on the whole more respected than loved. His work has a deliberate harshness which repels many spectators.'
    During the Battle of Verdun in World War I, he was nearly killed by a German mustard gas attack.
    A pair of his murals were installed in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations headquarters.
    Unlike a stereotypical Frenchman, he loved American pop culture, especially billboards, neon lights and New York City. ('The most colossal spectacle in the world.')
    Art historian John Golding wrote of his work, 'Never has the poetry of the machine age been so grandly and poetically exalted.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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