Fondation Beyeler, Basel

Fernand Léger once famously said that the pretty is the greatest enemy of the beautiful. The statement inspired Ernst and Hildy Beyeler's approach to collecting. The foundation, whose new director is Sam Keller – the former director of Art Basel – has several of Léger's pieces in its permanent collection. For this exhibition, it is presenting what it calls a "concentrated retrospective" focusing on the main phases of the French artist's career from 1912 to 1955.

Born in 1881, Léger was a contemporary of Robert Delaunay and Guillaume Apollinaire and is known for furthering the development of Cubism, Contructivism and the modern advertising poster. Like many artists of his generation Léger was a communist, and he captured daily life in modern, industrial cities in his work. His works after the 1920s featured a mechanistic classicism and a precise, geometric rendering of modern objects.

This exhibition traces the key aspects of his artistic trajectory. It takes in his early works, such as "Femme en bleu," his post-World War I series of canvases on the theme of the city and modern technology, his still lifes and figurative paintings, and his huge canvases from his American exile period in 1940-1945, such as his paintings of divers.

June 1 through September 7, 2008
Fondation Beyeler
Baselstrasse 101
4125 Riehen / Basel
Switzerland
T. +41 (0)61 645 97 00