Leger was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a unique form of cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative style. He was influential to many abstract painters and sculptors.
He was the first painter to take the imagery from the machine age, and to make the objects of consumer society the subjects of his paintings.
Léger has been called the forefather of Pop Art.
He began to work seriously as a painter only at the age of 25. At this point his work showed the influence of Impressionism, but new emphasis on drawing and geometry appeared in his work after he saw the Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne in 1907, and his work became increasingly abstract.
He was active as a teacher for many years, in Paris at the Sorbonne, and then developing his own Académie Fernand Léger, which was in Paris, at the Yale School of Art and Architecture (1938–1939), and Mills College Art Gallery in Oakland, California during 1940–1945, before he returned to France. Léger's belief that art can unify people, influenced community-based art as activism movements, such as Fluxus.