Artist biographies

Henri Le Fauconnier

Henri Le Fauconnier (1881-1946) moved in 1901 from northern France to Paris, where he first studied law and then took painting classes, at institutions such as the Académie Julian. He changed his surname from Fauconnier to Le Fauconnier and exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants for the first time in 1904. His style, initially Fauvist, influenced by Matisse, gradually shifted in the direction of Cubism, a major factor in this change being Cézanne’s influence. At the Salon des Indépendants of 1911 Le Fauconnier and colleagues such as Fernand Léger and Robert Delaunay caused a scandal with their Cubist works. During his life Le Fauconnier was regarded as a leading figure amongst the ‘Montparnasse Cubists’, a status which allowed him to enjoy many contacts with other European avant-garde artists. At Kandinsky’s invitation, for example, he wrote a theoretical text for the catalogue of the Neue Künstlerverein in Munich, of which he also became a member. His painting was later reproduced as an example of the latest art in the almanac Der Blaue Reiter, and was exhibited in Moscow.

Le Fauconnier was in the Netherlands when the First World War broke out and he ended up staying there for six years. By this time his work was a combination of Cubism and Expressionism which won him considerable success and influence in the Netherlands. In 1920 he returned to France where his output became more realistic and less innovative. Le Fauconnier died of a heart attack in 1945.

© Henri Le Fauconnier, The Signal, 1915, ‘Staatsmuseum Hermitage St.-Petersburg’

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