Painting in Slang

Fernand Leger at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

One of the revelations at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Inventing Abstraction” exhibition earlier this year was a wall of early work by Fernand Léger. Three oils, painted with strong primary colors, black lines and patches of white, showed tumbles of ovoid and box-like forms that seemed to dance into the viewer’s space. They came from Léger’s Contrast of Forms series of 1913...

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About the Author


Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ, a frequent contributor to Commonweal, is president emeritus of Georgetown University.