Fernand Léger’s “São Paulo” is an affectionate remembrance of the artist’s journeys in Brazil. It is a natural component of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ art series. In the austere beauty of Légers work one can virtually hear the music resounding in the streets of the bustling metropolis. “São Paulo” is a tapestry made in 1953 during the time Léger spent in Brazil.
Fernand Léger (1881-1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of Cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of Pop art. The artist’s early works were influenced by impressionism and Cubism. Léger's experiences in World War I marked the beginning of his "mechanical period", during which the figures and objects he painted were characterized by tubular and machine-like forms. Starting in 1927, the character of Léger's work gradually changed as organic and irregular forms assumed greater importance. In 1935, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City presented an exhibition of Léger’s work. During World War II Léger lived in the United States. In 1954 he began a project for a mosaic for the São Paulo Opera, which he would not live to finish.