The Bicyclist

Fernand Léger French

Not on view

Straddling a bicycle, a sturdy woman stands still. One foot rests on the right pedal, the other on the ground. On the bicycle’s back sits her child, a young boy. Their colorful leotards identify the pair as circus performers. Beginning in the late 1930s, Léger’s paintings became animated by merry workers and construction crews as well as sportsmen: acrobats, swimmers, gymnasts, and bicyclists. Here, he reprised the motif— mother and child with bicycle—from the right-hand side of his earlier large horizontal painting Leisure Time: Homage to Louis David (1948–49; Musée d’Art Moderne Paris).

The Bicyclist, Fernand Léger (French, Argentan 1881–1955 Gif-sur-Yvette), Oil on canvas

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