Nature morte à la lampe (Still Life with Lamp)

Fernand Léger

Argentan, France, 1881 - Gif-sur-Yvette, France, 1955

Between 1913 and 1914, Fernand Léger pushed his idiosyncratic Cubist style practically into abstraction in a series of paintings generically entitled Contraste de Formes (Contrast of Forms), based around the visual disparity between discrete geometric volumes, including cylindrical and cubic units and planar elements, which would earn him a name as a true innovator. In the different variations on a theme, Léger alternated solids and voids in his compositions, highlighted by the play of light and shadow. The oil painting Nature morte à la lampe (Still Life with Lamp), 1914, is a representative example of this series of works in which, by means of almost abstract images, Léger explores the Cubist language in a very similar way to Robert Delaunay in his Fenêtres simultanées (Simultaneous Windows) and his brightly coloured disks of 1913. However, Léger’s incursion into non-objective painting was not to last long, and he returned to figuration soon after.

Paloma Esteban Leal