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Léger was closely involved with the Peace Movement at the height of the Cold War. Together with Picasso, he attended the Communist-sponsored Peace Congress in Poland in August 1948. The Acrobat and his Partner was completed only months before and captures the circus as a symbol of the energy of modern life and popular entertainment. He wrote of this painting: ‘I work less by reflection than by instinct’. He strove to balance ‘the dynamic and the static.’ Here the partner holding the ladder provides the stability for the energetic movement of the acrobat and his disc.

February 2016