Three Women and Still Life (Déjeuner)


Fernand Léger ( French, 1881 - 1955 )

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General Description

The monumental bodies of Three Women and Still Life (Déjeuner) are composed of sleek gray cones, planes, and cylinders. They resemble both machined metal forms and the smooth marble limbs of classical sculpture. Fernand Léger painted this work during a part of his career that he called “the monumental period, the massive phase, the compositions with large figures, the enlargement of the details.” The painting is dominated by three human bodies. One is a reclining nude, a type of modern odalisque, while the others stand at center, one figure clothed in bright colors and the other nude. The figures surround and partially conceal a still life on a round table or tray. The subject of standing and reclining nudes accompanied by a still life, suggesting an informal meal or picnic, was one that Léger explored in a series of ambitious works during the early 1920s, a time when he was particularly intrigued with the study of earlier French art. His exploration of traditional artistic themes was accompanied by the development of a new language for describing the human form.

Excerpt from

Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2010.

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