Composition with Tree Trunks


Fernand Léger ( French, 1881 - 1955 )

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General Description

Geometric shapes in blue, red, brown, and black intersect with forms that resemble objects, such as the scroll of a cello and a knife handle. Fernand Léger's raw, loose lines and blurred colors further obscure the boundary where one object ends and another begins. The artist guides the eye by dividing the composition vertically, with abstract forms on the left and cylindrical tree trunks, to which the title refers, on the right. Léger sets this composition within a large cross-section of tree trunk floating on an ambiguous background. Surrealist qualities like the otherworldly setting, distorted scale, and intertwined forms invite the viewer to create unexpected relationships between the pictorial elements.

This painting illustrates Léger's experimental process in the 1930s, combining constructivist shapes, abstract objects, and biomorphic elements.

Excerpt from

Heather MacDonald, DMA label copy, 2010.

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