Although he is classed as a ‘realist’ painter in phase with modern life; from the twenties to just after World War 2 Fernand Léger combined objects in disconcerting ways, played with differences in scale, let objects float in space and used biomorphic motifs.
He stayed true to “realism in conception,” which he defined as realism in line, form and colour, but he was receptive to the experimental art of the Surrealists.
He made friends with Man Ray and Duchamp and, during his exile in the United States, he moved in the same circles as Masson, Tanguy, Matta, Breton and Ernst and made no secret of his friendship with the Surrealists, particularly at the “Artists in Exile” exhibition at the Pierre Matisse gallery in New York in March 1942.
A close look at Léger’s oeuvre reveals currents that could be compared to precepts characteristic of Surrealism.
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