Fernand Léger, French, Flowers, 1926, Oil on canvas; 92.2 x 65.4 cm (36 5/16 x 25 13/16 inches), Anonymous gift 81.097
Intensely involved in the development of Cubist style in Paris, Léger developed a machine-inspired version that conveyed power through the use of mechanical and architectural components. His trademark vocabulary included crisp outlines, bright colors, and densely packed tubular forms. In the 1920s, he often applied his machine aesthetic to still-life subjects. In Flowers, overlapping planes and flattened shapes press the composition’s elements to the painting’s surface where they lock into place to form a static but energetic grid. The curve of the vase and irregularity of the flowers’ sinuous stems suggest a poetic abstraction of nature amid alternating linear patterns and hard-edged blocks of color.