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
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…