Sergio Camargo, Brazil (acquired from the artist)
Joe Kantor, São Paulo
Waddington Galleries, London
Private Collection, New York (sold: Sotheby's, London, June 26, 1990, lot 53)
Private Collection, Sweden (acquired at the above sale)
Private Collection, New York
Michelle Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1994
In 1938, Léger visited the United States for the third time and the energy of New York undoubtedly infused his paintings at this period. The present painting, Nature Morte aux trois fruits, belongs to this creative time. In the present work, the emphasis is abstract and biological. Fruits and plant, geometrical shapes, all schematic, are positioned against geometrical background. Curved elements create a balance with the straight and right-angled lines. Léger confirmed the principle of visual contrast as a determining feature of his work. This rule had its expression in the machinist easel paintings of the early 1920s and in the organic compositions that followed. The background shows an architectural motif of flat colored planes enclosed into geometrical forms. In the foreground the fruit are floating, suspended above the geometric background. As Léger explained, “I placed objects in space so that I could not place an object on a table without diminishing its value. I selected an object, chucked the table away. I put the object in space, minus the perspective. Minus anything to hold it there. I then had to liberate the color to an even greater extent.” (Dora Vallier, 'La Vie fait l’oeuvre de Fernand Léger,' Cahier d’Arts, no.2, 1954, pp.152&153). Léger staged thus, the advent of the object, the object of art. He presented it full-blown and self-sufficient, in a new visual state imposed by his modern vision of painting.
Fig 1. Fernand Léger in his studio circa 1939-40
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