Fernand Léger

Men in the City


Fernand Léger temporarily abandoned representational depiction in his Contrast of Forms series of 1913–14. When he returned from the front in 1917 and resumed painting, he reintroduced recognizable imagery in his work. Responsive to the technological advances and assertive advertising that followed World War I, he embarked on his “mechanical” period with works such as Men in the City. In the urban themes of this period, the human figure becomes as de-individualized and mechanized as the environment it occupies. Léger is able to express the rhythmic energy of contemporary life by finding its pictorial equivalent. Form, color, and shape are considered primarily for their plastic values and are given equal emphasis. They confront one another in a multitude of relations, creating single images that capture simultaneous sensations. Léger’s simple, varied, and clear pictorial elements, like ideal machines, efficiently produce effects of maximum power.

On view

Artist Fernand Léger
Original Title Les Hommes dans la ville
Date 1919
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 145.7 x 113.5 cm
Credit line Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York)
Accession 76.2553 PG 21
Collection Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Type Painting

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On view

Other artworks

Unrecorded Nayarit artist (Ixtlán del Río culture)

Male figure

300 BCE–400 CE

Not on View