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Art Diary

Fernand Léger and the Rooftops of Paris

11 November 2022

Inspired by the many chimneys and plumes of smoke visible from the windows of his studio in Paris between the years 1911 and 1912, the French painter Fernand Léger created his series titled Fumées sur les toits (Smoke on the roofs). With a spotlight on this important moment in Léger’s career, this exhibition at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo (19 November–2 April 2023) explores how these paintings led to some of the artist’s best-known Cubist works. Paintings such as La Partie de Cartes (1917), for example, demonstrate Léger’s move towards a more experimental approach to form and colour that paved the way for later works such as the famous Contrast de Former (1913–14) which is also included in the show. At the heart of the exhibition is a newly discovered work from the Fumées sur les toits series, titled Le quatorze juillet (1911–12), which was uncovered during conversation work at the Triton Collection Foundation. Find out more on the Kröller-Muller’s website.

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Le quatorze juillet (1912–13), Fernand Léger. Triton Collection Foundation. Photo: courtesy Redivivus; © Pictoright Amsterdam 2022

La partie de cartes (1917), Fernand Léger. Kröller-Müller Museum collection Photo: © 2022 Collectie Kröller-Müller Museum/Pictoright Amsterdam 2022

Les fumées sur les toits (1911–12), Fernand Léger. Triton Collection Foundation. Photo: © Pictoright Amsterdam 2022; courtesy Redivivus