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Contrast of Forms

Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955)

This painting is a bold experiment in the underlying mechanics of picture-making. The elements of a conventionally realistic image are present: line, shape, tone, texture, and highlights, or intense reflections indicating the jutting forward of solid forms. Yet Fernand Léger deploys these elements in an intensely anti-realistic way, so that recognizable subject matter falls away and the image separates into a pattern of lines, forms, and colors in dissonant relationships.

For Léger, "contrast" was more than the basic principle for structuring modern pictures; it was also his slogan for everything that was new, dynamic, and creative in modern life. Despite its abstract qualities, Contrast of Forms is a response to those wider phenomena.

Object Details

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