Mondrian's Friends - Paris 1911-1914

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On December 20th 1911 Mondrian went to Paris on the advice of Conrad Kikkert. Settled at 26 Rue de Départ, where Kikkert and Lodewijk Schelfhout also lived. He admired the cubist work of Picasso and Fernand Leger and rapidly developed further interest in that direction.

Conrad Kikkert

A day at the beach, Kamperduin
oil on canvas

source artnet
Lodewijk Schelfhout

A view of Les Angles, 1910
oil on canvas

De brug, 1920
watercolour and ink

source artnet
Picasso needs no introduction
Fernand Leger

Leger, a French Cubist painter, started out working for architects. He served briefly in the military and studied only as an independent at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as he was refused full admission. In 1913, Leger developed his own Cubist style by including modeled forms suggestive of mechanical movement. From 1919-20, he was associated with the purist movement of the architect Le Corbusier. During that period he sharply clarified his volumes and color and used human and machine forms as coordinated elements within the same canvas - "The Mechanic" (1920) and "Three Women" (1921). "The City", which Leger painted in 1919, depicts a controlled landscape that reflects the clean geometric shapes of modern machinery and represents a mechanized utopia. In 1923 he made one of the early experimental art films "Ballet Mechanique" whose content centered on simple, mechanical objects moving rhythmically through space. He visited New York City in 1931 and decorated Nelson Rockefeller's apartment. He moved to New York from 1940-46 where he painted canvases with acrobats and cyclists as his subjects. His style incorporated flat patterns of brilliant color upon which he chiefly used strong linear definitions. Leger was a major contributor to the Cubist movement in which he developed a strong personal expression. The clarity of his modeling and his use of bright color, often depicting machine subjects or rhythms, are a distinctive phenomenon in modern art. Leger saw that Cubism had a special affinity with the geometric precision of engineering that made it uniquely attuned to the dynamism of modern life.

from absolutearts
Leger Leger

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Original page 2001, rewritten October 2010