The Punching Machine

Ferdinand Léger (French, 1881 - 1955)

1918. Oil on canvas, 15 3/4 x 1018". 1931.062

Ferdinand Léger, who was a munitions expert in World War I, was fascinated by mechanical devices and their influences on society, for better or worse. His painted machines are pure fantasy—they depict types of imaginary mechanical action rather than functioning mechanisms. This kind of Cubist painting is composed of a variety of apparently solid geometric shapes—such as cylinders and cones—and is fundamentally different from the multiple surfaces of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.

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