May 14, 2019
Artworks in Arcadja4419
Some works of Fernand LegerExtracted between 4,419 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Auction: Sotheby's -May 15, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 332
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
ÉTUDE POUR "LES CONSTRUCTEURS" Fernand Léger 1881 - 1955 Signed with the initials F.L. and dated52.(lower right) Gouache, watercolor andpencil on paper 181/4 by 227/8 in. 46.3 by 58.1 cm Executed in 1952. Provenance Estate of the artist, Paris Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris Stephen Hahn Gallery, New York Acquired from the above on June 5, 1969 Literature Jean Cassou & Jean Leymarie, Fernand Léger: Drawings and Gouaches, London, 1973, p. 180, no. 269 Jean Cassou & Jean Leymarie,Fernand Léger, Dessins et gouaches, nouvelle édition, 2012, no. 15-101, http://www.legerdessinsetgouaches.com/tableaux/etude-pour-les-constructeurs-1/ (accessed on February 27, 2019) Karen Thomson, ed.,The Blema and H. Arnold Steinberg Collection, Montreal, 2015, no. 78, illustrated in color p. 76 Catalogue Note Léger\’s series of gouaches and oils on the theme of construction workers is one of his best-known projects of the 1940s and early 1950s. The present study is taken from the upper section of the large-scale Les Constructeurs (1951) in the collection of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. As Brian Petrie comments, the gouache reductions and variations of the Constructeurs seem to lie outside our terms of reference for Léger, \“somewhere between the requirements of easel-painting, ornamental and \‘architectural\’ painting, as Léger conceived them. Perhaps they are the closest that Léger came to that \‘Peinture d\’accompagnement\’ which he imagined on the analogy of Satie\’s musical ideas\” (Brian Petrie, \“Léger at the Waddington Galleries,\” inThe Burlington Magazine, vol. 112, 1970, p. 409). The cult of the skyscraper and by extension the architect (Léger\’s original profession until he transitioned to painting seriously in his mid-20s), is one that captivated writers and artists on every side of the political and social divide, from Ayn Rand\’s novel The Fountainhead (1943) to Andy Warhol\’s film Empire (1964), and Lunch atop a Skyscraper (1932) remains an iconic photograph of Manhattan even today (see fig. 1). Léger had spent time in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, including visits to New York City, but it was seeing men swaying on steel girders high above him on a French construction site that famously inspired this series. "I saw man like a flea; he seemed still lost in his inventions with the sky above him. I wanted to render that; the contrast between man and his inventions, between the worker and all that metal architecture, that hardness, that ironwork, those bolts and rivets\” (Fernand Léger quoted inWerner Schmalenbach,Fernand Léger, New York, 1976, p. 158). This contrast of materials is evident in the present work, but the scale and dizzying perspective which had initially inspired him is notably absent: man is emphatically not flea-sized. Instead we find those \“massive figures, with calm expressions, which are, in fact, veritable painted sculptures\” that Kahnweiler identified in his paintings of the 1920s onward and it is in fact the humanity of the Constructeurs which is most often commented on (Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, The Burlington Magazine, vol. 92, 1950, p. 68). To an extent this can be ascribed to intensification of his socialist views in the wake of the war, but his positive sense of the dignity of the individual in the mechanized age was not new. By 1913 Léger had already identified specialization as a characteristic of modern life. Rather than lament the onset of automation however, he believed that confining each man to the pursuit of a single aim only intensified the character of his achievement. With his trademark disassociated color planes and flattened perspective, Léger shifts the focus in Les Constructeurs away from the inhumanity of monolithic structures to the inventiveness of man and the central role of the worker.
Auction: Sotheby's -May 14, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 2
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
PEINTURE MURALE POLYCHROME Fernand Léger 1881 - 1955 Signed F. Leger and dated 49 (lower right); titled, signedF. Leger and dated-49(on the reverse) Oil on canvas 36 by 28 3/4 in. 91.5 by 73 cm Painted in 1949. The artist\’s studio Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris Alexy Maguy (Galerie de L'Élysée), Paris Acquired circa 1980 Literature Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné, 1949-1951, Paris, 2003, no. 1348, illustrated in color p. 57 Painted in 1949, Peinture murale polychrome showcases the increased level of abstraction that Léger explored in the final years of his career. Pairing bold, structural elements with organic accents, Léger used his "law of contrasts" tosupplantthe traditional constraints derived from Renaissance theory. His aim was for the plastic beauty of his art to \“provide the masses with a sort of aesthetic relief\” (C. Lanchner, Fernand Léger (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1998, p. 225). By flattening any sense of perspective, the forms in this painting float in space, layered claustrophobically, and yet keep their individual integrity through the contrast of colors. Léger's compositions demanded a revised set of laws to read a work of art, laws governed by instinct and visualization in place of education and class. The large blocks of solid pigment in the present work encapsulate Léger\’s belief in the key role of pure color in his painting. Rather than representing a likeness of the world that surrounds him, the artist uses overlapping patches of color as the principal element of the composition, creating new spatial relationships within the two-dimensional plane of the canvas. In 1950 Léger wrote: "The plastic life, the picture, is made up of harmonious relationships among volumes, lines, and colors. These are the three forces that must govern works of art. If, in organizing these three elements harmoniously, one finds that objects, elements of reality, can enter into the composition, it may be better and may give the work more richness" (quoted in ibid., p. 247). Léger described the principles that inform his devotion to abstraction: \“The realistic value of a work of art is completely independent of any imitative character. This truth should be accepted as dogma and made axiomatic in the general understanding of painting.... Pictorial realism is the simultaneous ordering of three great plastic components: Lines, Forms and Colours... the modern concept is not a reaction against the impressionists' idea but is, on the contrary, a further development and expansion of their aims through the use of methods they neglected.... Present-day life, more fragmented and faster moving than life in previous eras, has had to accept as its means of expression an art of dynamic divisionism; and the sentimental side, the expression of the subject (in the sense of popular expression), has reached a critical moment.... The modern conception is not simply a passing abstraction, valid only for a few initiates; it is the total expression of a new generation whose needs it shares and whose aspirations it answers\” (quoted in D. Kosinski, ed., Fernand Léger, 1911-1924, The Rhythm of Modern Life(exhibition catalogue), Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg & Kunstmuseum, Basel, 1994, pp. 66-67). While studying at theAcadémie Julian in 1918,Léger encountered fellow artist Jean Dubuffet, whose later work would reiteratesimilar aesthetic and conceptual values. Having abandoned painting in 1918, Dubuffet recommittedhimself to artistry in the following decades, branching out into architectural forms around 1970 (see fig. 1). Incorporating the use of primary colors and bold expanses of white in his abstraction, Dubuffet's monumental sculptures play on the most essential elements of Léger's painting.Though decades apart, these works by Légerand Dubuffetreimagine traditional academic genres of still life and portraiture in graphic terms, simplifying three-dimensional forms intolarger-than-lifeconstructs which prioritize line and color.
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Lot Details Lot 1054 Fernand Leger French, 1881-1955 Tete de Femme, 1950 Signed with initials and dated F.L 50 (lr) Gouache on paper 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 inches (85 x 50.2 cm) Provenance: Galerie D'Art du Faubourg, Paris, acquired in the late 1950's Exhibited: Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Collects Twentieth Century, Oct. 2-Nov. 17, 1963 C
Auction: Christie's -May 14, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 374
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Fernand Léger (1881-1955) Nature morte signed and dated 'F. LÉGER. 28' (lower right); signed and dated again and titled 'F. LEGER. 28 NATURE-MORTE 1er ETAT' (on the reverse) oil on canvas 21 ½ x 25 ¾ in. (54.5 x 65.3 cm.) Painted in 1928 Provenance Paul Rosenberg, Paris (acquired from the artist, by April 1929). Wildenstein & Co. Inc., New York. Chester H. Johnson Gallery, Chicago. Alexina "Teeny" Duchamp, New York. Acquired from the above by the late owner, December 1956.
Auction: Christie's -May 14, 2019 - New YorkLot number: 105
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Fernand Léger (1881-1955) Femme à la feuille signed with initials and dated 'F.L. 31' (lower right) pen and India ink and pencil on paper 14 3/8 x 10 5/8 in. (36.5 x 27 cm.) Drawn in 1931 Provenance Julien Levy Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist, 1931). Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., New York (acquired from the above, February 1937); sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 16 February 1950, lot 12. Blue Moon Gallery, New York (circa 1975). Douglas Cooper, Argilliers (acquired from the above). Lionel Prejger, Paris. Private collection, Switzerland (acquired from the above, 1988). Anon. sale; Rémy le Fur & associés, Paris, 23 May 2011, lot 170. Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.