French artist, one of the century's most important art theoreticians and moralists. His art training was classical. From the end of the World War I in which he served, his obsession was with the aesthetics of the Machine Age, celebrating the rise of our century's technology, through his use of fragmented planes, of contrasts and ruptures in shape and color. He set out to imagine the city as a machine-this produced some of his masterpieces, such as the enormous The City, 1919, or the yet more abstract The Typographer, 1918. Léger had a way of adopting elements from Fauvism and Orphism to Cubism and even Surrealism, while staying independent of them." Léger observed "When one crosses a landscape by automobile or express train, it becomes fragmented; it loses its descriptive value but gains in synthetic value. The view through the door of the railroad car or the automobile windshield, in combination with the speed, has altered the habitual look of things. A modern man registers a hundred times more sensory impressions than an eighteenth-century artist." He spent the Second World War in exile in America, teaching at the Yale University with Millaud, Focillon, Maurois. Through Matisse he met several artists also in exile: Masson, Tanguy, Matta, Breton, Zadkine, Ernst, Chagall, Mondrian, Ozenfant. He was fascinated by the color glow of neons. Léger enjoyed considerable fame in his lifetime." Leger's monumental paintings of construction workers on high steel are directly derived from New York. Nevertheless, the tone of the big late work is distinctly French, not American. It becomes so by its mixture of social convictions with a high-art classical tradition.