French artist Fernand Léger was born on February 4, 1881 in Argentan, France. Beginning in 1903, he studied architecture in Caen and painting at the Académie Julien in Paris. Through Braque and Picasso, he was introduced to Cubism in 1910, but he soon developed his own distinctive brand of art described as the “aesthetic of the machine,” already evident in his work of 1913 but more fully developed after World War I. In this period, he designed costumes and sets for the Swedish Ballet and collaborated with Man Ray on the first abstract film, Le Ballet Mécanique (1924). During World War II, he lived in the USA where he taught at Yale and painted mainly acrobats and cyclists as well as working on the murals for the UN headquarters building in New York. After returning to France, he concentrated on large paintings of men and machinery, earning the epithet of the “Primitive of the Machine Age.” He died on August 7, 1955.