The rise of Modernism is on display at the PMA’s new Leger exhibition

Photo is of Leger's painting "The City," done in 1919. Oil on canvas, 7 feet 7 inches x 9 feet 9 1/2 inches. (Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Leger’s 1919 painting “The City” is on display at the art museum. Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Leger: Modern Art and the Metropolis” brings 1920s Paris to Philadelphia. You might imagine a romantic cafe scene or a bucolic French countryside, but that’s not it. Picture instead the denouement of Cubism, the rise of Modernism and the bewildering excitement of film as a new medium. In the center of this shifting art scene we find Fernand Leger.

“He wants to overwhelm you,” says curator Ann Vallye, standing in front of Leger’s mural-sized painting “The City” as she points out how the “foreground and background are dramatically compressed.” You can’t help but feel like the bold colors and geometric shapes are hurtling toward you. The painting has all the working functions of a city: neon signs, puffs of smoke, shadowy figures on a stairwell, all in a frenzied environment.

“The City” is about the size of a movie screen, with good reason, Vallye says: “This is just about the time that Leger started dreaming of working in theater.

Move into the next room of the exhibit and the space opens up. One of the pieces is a film by Leger, which centers around “inanimate objects set into motion, and people acting as inanimate objects,” Vallye explains. If that doesn’t sound like the most appealing movie, that’s understandable. “No one quite knew what to do with this new invention,” Vallye explains. What’s clear, though, is that Leger’s paintings have movement within them, and it echoes the time’s freshest medium. The exhibition is a meandering stroll through Paris, set 100 years ago, and it’s as playful as it is informative.

Eat at the exhibit
Granite Hill, the Stephen Starr-run restaurant at the museum, is complemeting the Leger exhibition with French delicacies, including roasted Moulard duck, a cremini and comte tart, and, for dessert, chocolate souffle. Or step outside of the restaurant on Oct. 27 for a decadent, French-inspired Sunday brunch on the East Balcony of the Great Stair Hall.

“Leger: Modern Art and the Metropolis”
Through Jan. 5
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Ben Franklin Pkwy.
$12-$25, 215-763-8100
www.philamuseum.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.