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The City
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The City

Fernand Léger, French, 1881 - 1955

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

7 feet 7 inches × 9 feet 9 1/2 inches (231.1 × 298.4 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 267, Modern and Contemporary Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1952

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This painting captures the staccato rhythms of a modern urban environment, and the broad panorama of its buildings, scaffolding, and bridges. These architectural elements are punctuated by such signs of city life as shop window mannequins, rounded plumes of smoke, and a telephone pole, all rendered in bold, vibrant colors. Léger even included his own initials, "F L," among the array of stenciled letters, evoking the colorful billboard posters of the time.


A. E. Gallatin, New York, purchased from the artist, with the assistance of George L. K. Morris, 1936 [1]; bequest to PMA, 1952. 1. See letter of January 1937 in which Léger informs Gallatin that the painting has been shipped (Gallatin Papers, New York Historical Society, microfilm). Morris owned a half share of the painting (along with Picasso's "Three Musicians"), which he later sold to the Gallatin estate; see Gail Stavitsky, The Development, Institutionalization, and Impact of the A. E. Gallatin Collection of Modern Art [Ph.D. dissertation, New York University], 1990, v. 2, p. 356-357, and v. 7, p. 143.

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