Manufactured with new methods in electric arc furnaces, steel was analogous to modernity. This material had endless uses: infrastructures, means of transportation, machines, and tools. Many artists showed their enthrallment with machines in their work. Fernand Léger, for example, painted tubular shapes. His painting Man with Pipe (1920) shows a man whose body is made of metal. Could Léger have been anticipating the arrival of robots?

Fernand Léger
Man with Pipe (L'homme à la pipe), 1920
Oil on canvas
Inv.: AMVP 1118
© Fernand Léger, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2022
Photo: © Paris Musées / Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris