Hidden behind parasol pines at the entrance of the village of Biot, the Férnand Léger Museum is entirely devoted to the works of the French artist Férnand Léger (1881-1955).
As a young child, Férnand Léger displayed a talent for drawing, a talent which he refined and which later permeated his art work. He studied architecture and began working as an architectural draughtsman. But at the age of 25, he began to work as a painter, showing influences of Impressionism but soon focusing more on geometrical shapes and drawing.
"Man needs colour to live; it's just as necessary an element as fire and water." -F.Leger
What strikes first upon entering the airy museum are the colors. Leger worked extensively with primary colors and geometric shapes. As a painter, Léger greatly influenced the Cubism movement but expanded beyond the artistic style. He developed a personal version of cubism with dynamic cylindrical shapes. The art critic Louis Vauxcelles called (with a touch of sarcasm) this particular style "Tubism".
One of his most famous paintings of this era is La Femme en Bleu (Woman in Blue) painted in 1912 (above).
"Enormous enlargements of an object or a fragment give it a personality it never had before" -Léger
Léger's style evolved over time. After his brutal experience as a soldier in World War I, Léger moved to a more stylized rendering of objects and then to more depiction of machines and mechanisms. One of my favorite piece is Le Grand Remorqueur (above) with its giant ship set in a modern town and its rendition of slow tilting motion.
During World War II, Léger lived and worked in the US. He was fascinated by the modern urban landscape. He taught briefly at Yale University and at Mills College.
"The object in modern painting must become the main character and overthrow the subject." - Léger
More about the Museum:
The Musée National Fernand Léger is open year-round outside of Tuesdays, December 25, January 1 and May 1.
From November to April: Open 10AM to 5PM
From May to October: Open 10AM to 6PM
As of May 2012, full-fare entrance is €5.50. Check with the museum web site for current price.
Where to eat:
In the museum's gardens, a small snack pictured above offers drinks and basic food. It's pleasant for its surroundings. But you'll find more delicious food in the village of Biot just above.
How to get there:
By public transportation, you'll need to catch the train to the village of Biot and then the bus (Envibus) fLine 10 from the train station to the museum. This Envibus Ligne 10 actually starts its route at the Antibes train station so if you're in Antibes, it's even easier.