In 1913 Fernand Léger signed a contract with Galerie Kahnweiler. Following Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris, Léger was the fourth and last of the Cubist artists to be associated with the young German art dealer. Under the terms of his three year contract, Léger was committed to sell his works exclusively to Kahnweiler, who in return purchased all of the oil paintings and fifty of the drawings he produced each year. Léger recalled that his mother never truly believed her young son had actually held a contract, although it had been approved by his uncle, a notary in charge of the family affairs.
Léger's early reputation rested upon the fact that he was able to develop his own version of Cubism, and one so original that it almost seemed as if it could have been invented without that of Picasso or Braque. Indeed so persuasive was this 'tubism' of Léger's, as it was called, that it alone probably would have insured him a place in the history of modern painting, even if he had not survived World War I... Like his contemporaries Picasso and Braque, Léger was enormously affected by and indebted to the art of Cézanne, whom he saw as a transitional figure between traditional and modern painting. It was Cézanne, Léger wrote in 1913 while he was painting the Contraste de formes pictures, who had 'understood everything that was incomplete in traditional painting' and who had 'felt the necessity for a new form and draftmanship closely linked to the new color'. And it was Cézanne, Léger wrote the following year, who 'was the only one of the impressionists to lay his finger on the deeper meaning of plastic life, because of his senstivity to the contrasts of forms. (J. Flam, Fernand Léger, exh. cat., Acquavella Galleries, Inc., New York, 1987, p. 10)