During the pre-war years, Léger, strongly influenced by the work of Cézanne, gradually moved towards Cubism in his quest for abstraction. It was with a new determination that the artist resumed his career in 1917, profoundly affected by his war experience. Léger was in search of a new formal language to express the novel and stunning reality of the machine era. His pictures are neither accounts nor explanations of the new way of life; they simply translate its motion, rhythm and energy into sharp and explosive forms. The White Hen is a good example of a form of art that evolved according to a strict logic. The precise drawing and the planes of strong, contrasting, unbroken colours are indicative of Léger’s will to transpose into his painting the efficiency and precision characteristic of the era.
© Estate of Fernand Léger / SOCAN (2020)