Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis
This interdisciplinary exhibition will shed new light on the vitally experimental decade of the 1920s in Paris when the great French modernist Fernand Léger (1881-1955) played a leading role in redefining the practice of painting by bringing it into active engagement with the urban environment and modern mass media. This will be the first exhibition to take as its inspiration and focus Léger’s monumental painting The City (1919), a cornerstone of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection and a landmark in the history of modern art, placing it in dialogue with the urban art and culture of modernity. The exhibition will present a core group of Léger’s exceptional paintings on the theme of the city, along with film projections, theater designs, architectural models, and print and advertising designs by the artist and his contemporaries. In a multi-media installation of more than 120 works, including loans from American and European public and private collections, this exhibition will demonstrate the varied strategies through which artists and designers of the European avant-garde, with Léger in the lead, sought to participate in the complexity and excitement of the metropolis. The exhibition will also feature work by Cassandre, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Theo van Doesburg, Alexandra Exter, Abel Gance, Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian, Gerald Murphy, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and many others.
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