Fernand Léger

Léger exemplified the “return to order,” the classicizing impulse that emerged in the arts after World War I. In his paintings and drawings, he simultaneously looked back to the harmony of classicism—as embodied in the drawings of Jean- Auguste- Dominique Ingres—and forward to the technological progress and rationalism promised by the industrial order. Even his human subjects, as seen here, take on the appearance of machines. The three women have perfectly spherical heads and breasts and cylindrical necks, while their skirts suggest the fluting of classical columns.

Fernand Léger
French, 1881–1955
Composition/Three Women, 1922
Richard and Mary L. Gray, promised gift to the Art Institute of Chicago
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
© Fernand Léger / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.