French painter and writer born in Saint-Quentin. Entered the municipal drawing school there in 1904, then moved to Paris the following year to study architecture in the studio of Guichard and Lesage, and painting first under Cottet, then at the Académie La Palette. Founded in 1915 the magazine L'Elan, whose contributors included Apollinaire, Picasso, Matisse and Gleizes. In 1918 met Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (later known as Le Corbusier), with whom he wrote Après le Cubisme, setting out the principles of Purism; they afterwards jointly founded the revue L'Esprit Nouveau 1920-5. First one-man exhibition with Jeanneret at the Galerie Thomas, Paris, 1918. Painted until c.1926 in a Purist style, with arrangements of standardised objects such as bottles and glasses in profile. Opened a painting school with Léger in 1924. In 1925 he and Le Corbusier published La Peinture Moderne and collaborated on the Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs. Began in 1926 to paint compositions with figures (bathers, etc.). Moved in 1935 to London, then lived 1939-55 in the USA, where he opened a painting school in New York; returned to France in 1955. His late works, which include landscapes, show a partial return to the spirit of Purism. Died in Cannes.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.579