barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Fernand Léger (1881 – 1955)

Composition with Fruit

Paris, 1938

Oil on canvas

92 x 65 cm


Paintings can be appreciated in purely abstract terms, and some cultures avoid representational art altogether. 

But it was only in the 20th century that Western painters sought to limit their works to colour, line and form.  However, as Léger’s painting shows, representational elements often remain.  Two oval forms, each with a tail, suggest the fruit of the title, complete with stalks (or worms).  The areas of colour also contain some subtle shading and together with the oblique lines, they create a feeling of recession which hints at an interior.  Other forms invoke the machine parts which fascinated the artist.


Purchased 1985 (No.85.1)

EDGAR DEGAS (1834-1917)

A horse trotting


Jean Morin (c. 1590-1650)

Omer Talon


Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

La belle Ferronnière


Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Nude in Three-Quarter Profile, Part of the Head cut away