Between 1912 and 1914, Fernand Léger executed a large cycle of works known as Contrasts of Forms. The series embraces the genres of landscape, still life, and figure, but at its core are numerous arresting compositions that sweep aside observation to focus on formal principles. The common denominator is a complex vocabulary of mingled cones, cylinders, cubes, and planes, vigorously outlined and scrubbed with color (in the paintings) or with black ink and white gouache (in the works on paper). Organized by the University of Virginia Art Museum, this tightly focused exhibition unites two landmark paintings with 11 works on paper from major museums and private collections. The accompanying full-color catalogue, with essays by Affron and Maria Gough (Stanford University), presents the works as central both to the cubist revolution in representation and to the emergence of abstract art. Curated by Matthew Affron, associate professor of art history, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
A variety of works by Léger from the Fogg’s permanent collection, including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from all periods of his career, are also on view in an adjoining gallery.