Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures at Tate Liverpool, November 23, 2018 – March 17, 2019

“Tate Liverpool presents the first major UK exhibition in 30 years of renowned modern artist Fernand Léger (1881–1955). Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures brings together more than 50 paintings from across Europe, including many never before seen in the UK. Featuring abstract and figurative paintings, drawings, a large-scale mural, films, graphic design, books and textiles, the exhibition explores how Léger redefined the value of art to 20th century society. Creating works in a diverse range of media, Léger was a politically-engaged artist, with an unwavering belief in the social function of art for everyone.

Influenced by his early training as an architect, Léger developed a unique visual style that powerfully captured the intense experience and energy of the 1910s Parisian metropolis in which he lived. At a time when photography and new forms of visual communication became predominant, Léger’s artistic style became heavily influenced by street advertising; like posters and neon signs, his paintings made bold, graphic and colourful statements about the bustle and rhythm of modern life. Highlights of this seminal period of Léger’s career include, The Disc 1918 and The Tugboat 1920 where the pure elements of abstract painting – line, form, colour – are used to embody industrial modernity. His interest and admiration for cinema also influenced his work, specifically his experimental film Ballet Mécanique 1924, made in collaboration with director, Dudley Murphy, artist, Man Ray and with music by George Antheil.” — Tate Liverpool

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955 and Charlotte Perriand, 1903-1999. Essential Happiness, New Pleasures. Pavilion of Agriculture, Paris, International Exhibition (Joies essentielles, plaisirs nouveaux. Pavillon de l’Agriculture, Paris, Exposition Internationale), 1937–2011. Acrylic paint, collage and print on paper on board, 3500 x 9410 mm. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid Donated by Archives Charlotte Perriand-Pernette Perriand Barsac, Paris, 2012. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018. Photographic Archives Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. ABC, 1927. Gouache on paper, 194 x 278 mm. Tate: Presented by Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler 1974, accessioned 1994. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. Leaves and Shell (Feuilles et coquillage), 1927. Oil paint on canvas, 1295 x 972 mm. Tate: Purchased 1949 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. Study for ‘The Constructors’: The Team at Rest (Étude pour ‘Les Constructeurs’: L’Équipe au repos), 1950. Oil paint on canvas, 1620 x 1295 mm. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Purchased 1984. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018. Photo: Antonia Reeve.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. The Acrobat and his Partner, 1948. Oil paint on canvas, support: 1302 x 1626 mm, frame: 1402 x 1727 x 75 mm. Tate. Purchased 1980. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. The Disc (Le Disque), 1918. Oil paint on canvas, 650 x 540 mm. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018. Provenance: Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. Two Women Holding Flowers, 1954. Oil paint on canvas, 972 x 1299 mm. Tate. Purchased 1959. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018.

Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. Young Girl Holding a Flower (Jeune fille tenant une fleur), 1954. Oil paint on canvas, 550 x 460 mm. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018. © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Fernand Léger: New Times, New Pleasures provides a comprehensive survey of the artist’s career, bringing together major loans from lenders including Centre Pompidou, Fondation Beyeler, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The exhibition is curated by Darren Pih, Exhibitions & Displays Curator and Laura Bruni, Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool. It was initially developed by Lauren Barnes, formerly Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool.

Images courtesy Tate Liverpool.