"Draw first". Fernand Léger, Intimate Drawings
Fernand Léger, Jeanne et Fernand,1914. Donation de Nadia Léger et Georges Bauquier, musée national Fernand Léger, Biot
© RMN-Grand Palais (musée Fernand Léger) / Gérard Blot ©ADAGP, Paris, 2017
Conception graphique : Marcel Bataillard
2 dicember 2017 - 26 march 2018
The painter, Fernand Léger, taught the art of drawing at his Academie Moderne as an indispensable prerequisite to painting. “Draw first,” he told his
students. “A precise drawing, with lines, nothing but lines. Fragments first: hands, feet, then figures, and then compositions of the whole…”
All of Fernand Léger’s painted work – canvases as well as much larger decorative murals - is preceded by preparatory drawings in which the artist
adjusts his composition, studies the position of the figures, or models the effects of light and of colored contrasts. Drawing enables Léger to
concentrate on the form which he seizes in its essence. He then progressively introduces color with touches of gouache or watercolor which
illuminate the paper surface with their brightness.
The National Fernand Léger Museum reveals Fernand Léger’s diversity as a draughtsman by presenting these rarely shown drawings from its
collection. For him, drawing is not simply an intellectual exercise in the analysis and synthesis of form destined to be brought to fruition in a painting.
It is also a means of artistic expression in and of itself which Léger practices daily. Drawing reveals the intimate side of the artist, both by the
subjects represented – caricatures of friends, portraits of his beloved – and by the modest formats and techniques.
Drawing reveals a personal, and often moving, dimension to the work of Fernand Léger as seen in the rigorous and sober 1930 Self Portrait. The lively
and precise line work reflects the artistic curiosity of the painter as well as the emotional richness and freedom of his eye.
This winter exhibition presented by the National Fernand Léger Museum focuses on the 1921-1925 period. It is articulated around four major themes
- caricatures and early drawings, cubist figures, war sketchbooks and purist studies – illustrating permanence and diversity of drawing in Fernand
Léger’s work as well as the evolution of his artistic work during the first half of his career.
Julie Guttierez, Curator at Fernand Léger National Museum
Nelly Maillard, in charge of collections at Fernand Léger National Museum
opening hours: every day except tuesday from 10 am to 5 pm prices: €7,50, €6 concession, groups €7 (minimum 10 people) including the collections. Free admission for under 18s, under 26s (EU members), disabled visitors (MDPH or Cotorep card), teachers (current Pass Education), those qualifying for certain types of income support and for everyone on the 1st Sunday of the month