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Front Cover - Ferdinand Leger:  Spare Time Activities – Homage to Louis David  1948

 Ferdimd Leger in his New York studio 1942 

It was during the war of 1914, in the trenches, that he meets "people" and decides "to be very close to them while remaining demanding of myself and my art." He wants to be a "witness to his times." See­ing in the machine its dynamic necessity, he transcribes the optimistic images of our techno­logical - and fraternal - civiliza­tion into a bold, clear, and joyful language….

He is a member of the Com­munist party, but avoids the errors of Socialist Realism. His style is perfected. His theory of the figure-object, fashioned dur­ing the 1930s, prevents him from falling into pathos and laboring sentimentalism.

This is shown, among other paintings, in Leger's Homage to David. Only he could express "paid vacation" so joyfully; the lone exception may be Cartier-Bresson, with his 1936 photos of the Popular Front. Leger is the only one in the whole history of art who could draw with the callused hand of a laborer. 

Art of the 20th Century p 523