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© Fernand Léger/Bildupphovsrätt 2018
Fernand Léger
1881 - 1955
France L'escalier, 1914
The Staircase
Oil on canvas
144,5 x 93,5 cm
Purchase 1950 with contribution from The Giesecke Foundation
NM 4620 This artwork is not on display
- About the work
The Staircase was painted just before the First World War and is typical of the young Léger. The composition seems to be drawn in charcoal and paint, rather than painted; it is also executed on an almost unprepared canvas which is very absorbent. That is why this picture can almost be seen as a textile work. The composition is twisted in a spiral in which the rounded, shining "machinery parts" contrast effectively with the diagonal lines of the staircase in its powerful climbing movement towards the centre of the picture.
The Cubist Fernand Léger usually called his special version of the style "Tubism"; this rounded and metallic brilliance was an important feature of his style. He was also a skilful teacher and had in fact many Swedish pupils, including Otto G. Carlsund and Erik Olson, the latter one of the members of the Halmstad Group.
The Staircase was probably one of the last works Léger managed to complete before he was called up for military service in August 1914. In that year he wrote down a formula for his painting that he kept to for the rest of his life: "Contrast = Dissonance, that is, maximum expression."

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