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

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to “Orphan Black” Season 2! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany, while avoiding the…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.