Fernand Léger’s Cirque and the livre d’artiste

November 17, 2018 to March 24, 2019

Published in Paris in 1950, Cirque was a collaboration between French modernist painter Fernand Léger and book publisher Tériade. It is one in a series of twenty-seven such projects conceived by the publisher between 1943 and 1975. Known as livres d’artiste, these finely printed, large-format books pair handwritten text with original artwork from some of the twentieth century’s most prominent artists. Cirque represents a small subset within this genre, a specialty of Tériade’s, which brings together original images and an original text, both the work of Léger. The project serves as a visual and poetic summary of Léger’s interest in the circus as a venue of entertainment and freedom, as well as a reflection by the artist near the end of his life on the themes that occupied his career. The exhibition is curated by Emily Shinn as part of her terminal project as a graduate student in the History of Art and Architecture, under the guidance of Danielle Knapp, McCosh Associate Curator.