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Fernand Léger and the rooftops of Paris

19 Nov 2022 - 2 Apr 2023

The exhibition Fernand Léger and the rooftops of Paris is the ideal opportunity to discover a key moment in the oeuvre of French cubist Fernand Léger. It also includes a premiere: the discovery of a hidden painting. Immerse yourself in the Parisian art scene of the early 20th century and discover the works of Léger and other cubists, such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque!

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In 1911, Fernand Léger (1881-1955) moves into a studio on Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie in Paris. The view from his studio over the rooftops of Paris, with its chimneys and plumes of smoke, inspires him to experiment with form and colour. He creates a series of paintings, Fumées sur les toits (Smoke over the rooftops), three of which are currently on display in the exhibition. The series is a decisive step towards Léger's cubist work that results in highlights of his oeuvre, such as Contrastes de formes (1913-1914) and La partie de cartes (1917), which Helene Kröller-Müller acquires for her collection.

“We also visited Léger, one of the leading cubists. Nothing in Paris made more of an impression on me than his work […].”
— Helene Kröller-Müller, 27 February 1922
“When I see a painting by Léger, I am happy.”
— Writer Guillaume Apollinaire in: 'Les peintres cubistes', Paris 1913


The exhibition includes a premiere. A recently discovered painting from the series Fumées sur les toits is on public display for the first time. This painting is on the reverse of Léger’s Le quatorze juillet, which was acquired by the Triton Collection Foundation. The Fumées sur les toits painting was revealed during recent conservation work.


The exhibition presents work not only by Fernand Léger, but also other cubists, such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris and Robert Delaunay. Attention is focused on the wider context, with works by the two groups of cubists in Paris: the group of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque and the group around Léger, which also included Robert Delaunay, Jean Metzinger and Henri Le Fauconnier.


Want to read more about Fernand Léger? The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with the same title. The book is available in the museum shop and in the webshop.


Concurrently with Fernand Léger and the rooftops of Paris, the museum presents Analogous to Léger, in which Jan Robert Leegte (1973) and Harm van den Dorpel (1981) both reflect on the painting Fumées sur les toits from the Triton Collection Foundation with a digital artwork.