Argentan 1881 - 1955 Gif-sur-Yvette
Influenced by Cubism, Fernand Léger developed his style on the basis of simple geometric forms in the artists' colony 'La Ruche'; his more mature works were reminiscent of Surrealism. Léger was fascinated by modern technology, which he depicted by means of precise, geometrically exact and monumental representations of objects such as screws, cog wheels, crank shafts and pipes. Man was included as a machine-type creature, as was the urban world. He developed a completely new, unmistakable style and was the first artist to use industrial subjects for wall paintings as well as for stage and production designs.
AFTER FERNAND LÉGER
"The Construction Workers" (final version)", 1950/1993
297 x 197 cm
with signature and numbered '1/1' lower right
After Léger had died in 1955, his assistant Georges Bauquier and Léger’s wife Nadia Leger undertook the construction of the Fernand-Léger museum in Biot of which Bauquier was director until 1993. As Léger had a special interest in large-scales works that would be placed in buildings, he authorized and supervised the production of sculptures, ceramics and mosaics based on his paintings and drawings already during his lifetime. Following this initiative, Bauquier commissioned this mosaic to Heidi Melano after the original painting.
Léger painted the Constructeurs motif in five half-scale canvases and several sketches and gouaches in 1950 as he was finalizing his conception of this theme, which ultimately resulted in Les Constructeurs, état définitif, completed that same year.
The Constructeurs series is Léger's paean to the working class, both within French society and in the increasingly industrialized world at large, and moreover as a universal symbol of homo faber, man the maker and builder, a tribute which applies to architects and planners as well. Léger aimed in Les Constructeurs to exalt the value of proletarian labor. At the same time the artist also sought to reaffirm his characteristic interest in the mechanical and geometrical aspect of the human environment which has been present in his work from the beginning.