Following World War II, Fernand Léger returned to France and began a series of monumental art projects, including mosaics, stained glass, and murals. The Walking Flower, which is one of only a few small freestanding sculptures Léger made during this time, appears with slight modifications in a larger public monument. This cheerful-looking flower seems to be walking toward us on two of its six petals, provoking debate as to which of the other four petals might be the arms and head. It is a refreshing take on an age-old motif. The front is painted with five glazes—yellow, red-orange, green, black, and off-white—but the similar pattern on the back is reduced to black and off-white only. Léger developed the animated flower as a subject in his paintings during the 1930s, and flowers continued to be a favorite subject through the 1950s. For him, the forms found in nature were a refreshing remedy to the pressures of an increasingly fast-paced and industrialized world.
Label from For the Love of Things: Still Life, February 27–May 29, 2016