I discussed it last year as follows.
The end of the Second World War called for a period of rebuilding and of hope for a better life. Fernand Léger is interested in the social aspects of this new theme.
Thirty years before, he was already excited about engines and wheels. He now interprets the anonymous workers busy to build the basic structures of modern life. He works on a monumental painting titled Les constructeurs for which he produced several drafts.
The oil on canvas 108 x 138 cm for sale is dated 1949 and 1950. Two men working on scaffolding are overlooking the scenery as sailors of the old time 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.