French painter and designer Fernand Léger is widely regarded as the father of modern pop-art. Born in Normandy, in 1881, he first trained as an architect and moved to Paris in 1900 to work as a draftsman. After completing military training, he continued his studies at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and at the Académie Julian.
In 1907 his style began to develop a figurative Cubist element, influenced by a Cézanne retrospective. His use of abstracted tubular shapes earned the nickname ‘Tubism’, and he created the ‘Contrast of Forms’ series in 1913. During World War I, his time in the army sparked a fascination with sketching industrial machinery, inspiring his later ‘mechanical period’. Experimenting with a variety of media other than painting, he worked as a filmmaker, teacher, illustrator, set designer and ceramicist.
Léger died in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, in 1955.