Léger painted many works throughout his career with Acrobats as the subject, trying to capture their dynamism and energy in a static medium. Since childhood Léger had been fascinated by the circus. In an essay he wrote in 1924, the artist said: ‘The Big Top is an absolutely marvellous world. When I am lost in this astonishing metallic planet with its dazzling spotlights and the tiny acrobat who risks his life every night, I am distracted … I am caught up by the strange architecture of coloured tent poles, metallic rods, and ropes that cross each other and sway under the effects of the lights.’
The Parrots (The Acrobats)
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 130 x 162 cm Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Sammlung Beyeler © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2018
French painter and designer Fernand Léger, was born in Agentan, Normandy in 1881. His work encompasses cubist and semi-abstract styles, and in his later years he also worked in design for the stage. Léger also became an active advocate for peace, and in 1948 became a founder-member of the National Council of the World Peace Movement.