Skip to content

Images & Videos

Gretchen and John Berggruen invite you into their home once more, this time to discuss a small yet preeminent work by Fernand Léger from 1918. Léger created 'Le Cirque Medrano (Esquisse)' as a study for his larger painting 'Le Cirque Medrano' which now lives in the collection of the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. As always, John also has a noteworthy tale to his acquisition! 

May 7, 2020


Fernand Léger was born in Normandy, France in 1881. Though his family planned for young Léger to work in the agricultural trade like his father had done, in the early twentieth century he instead went to Paris to study art at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs and the Académie Julian. Around 1909, Léger began painting his early cubist works. His peers in Paris at this time included Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Rousseau. By the 1920's nd 1930's, Léger began to expand his subject matter, exploring machinery, technology, and the human form in his paintings. In the 1930's, Léger fled to New York city to escape the horrors of World War II. While in the United States, Léger influenced many New York School painters. After his return to France in the mid 1940's, Léger experimented mostly with large, public artworks. The artist died in 1955 in Gif-sur-Yves, France.