Léger produced his first ceramics in 1949, in the workshop of Roland Brice, in Biot. He exhibited a selection of these works in 1953 at the Galerie Louise Carré in Paris. In an essay for the occasion, titled "Towards Architecture," he wrote: "I have always been interested in [cooperating with architects] but I began cautiously, using easel paintings as a starting point" (quoted in Y. Brunhammer, Fernand Léger, The Monumental Art, Paris, 2005, p. 125). In one sentence the artist prophetically delineated the evolution of his art, as designs first conceived in two dimensions were continuously redeployed as templates for ceramic, mural and mosaic forms.
Léger's interest in architectural works stemmed initially from his involvement in the 1937 mural Les transport des forces at the Palais de la Découverte for the Exposition Internationale in Paris as well as a mural for the 1939 New York World's Fair (since destroyed). Léger extended this interest in architectural adornment when he was commissioned to create a mosaic for the façade of the church of L'Eglise Notre-Dame-de-toute Grâce at Assy in 1946, and shortly after when he executed the 1950 mosaic commemorating those soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium. Other commissions for mosaics and stained-glass windows soon followed.
As Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery, has observed, "It is a paradox that for all his ambition to create an art that would address a broad public, Léger had remarkably few opportunities to work in this area, other than in temporary manifestations like the great exhibitions, or as in the final decade of his life, in his mosaics and stained-glass projects for the church" (quoted in Fernand Léger: The Later Years, exh. cat., Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1987, p. 10).