Thirty years before, he was already excited about engines and wheels. He now interprets the anonymous workers busy to build the essential structures of modern life. He works on a monumental painting titled Les constructeurs for which he produced several drafts.
On November 5 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 108 x 138 cm dated 1949 and 1950, lot 28 estimated $ 16M. Two men working on scaffolding are overlooking the scenery as sailors once did from the top of the masts. A waving hand shared with another worker symbolizes the solidarity within the team.
In the final version, 2 x 3 m, painted in 1950, solidarity is now demonstrated by four men who join their physical strength to lift a huge steel girder. An oil on canvas 130 x 89 cm very close to the final version has been sold for $ 11.8M including premium at Christie's on November 6, 2007.
Léger was a member of the Parti Communiste Français since 1945, but he suspected that his art was too far away from Soviet realism to appeal his political friends. For establishing a direct link with the working class, he exhibited several paintings from this series in the canteen of the Renault factory in Boulogne-Billancourt. The reception was mixed but not indifferent.