Lot 329
  • 329

Fernand Léger

700,000 - 1,000,000 USD
935,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Fernand Léger
  • Composition murale
  • Signed F. Leger and dated 46 (lower right); signed F. Léger, titled and dated 46 (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas


Christian Zervos, Paris
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Iolas Jackson Gallery, New York
Sale: Sotheby's, London, June 27, 1977, lot 41
Private Collection (acquired at the above sale)
Peter Carbonaro, Chicago (and sold: Sotheby's, New York, May 12, 1994, lot 317)
Galerie Tamenaga, Tokyo (acquired at the above sale and sold: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1995, lot 227)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


London, Helly Nahmad Gallery, Braque, Gris, Léger and Picasso: Cubism and Beyond, 2001, no. 34, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint 1944-1948, vol. VII, Paris, 2000, no. 1238, illustrated in color p. 137

Catalogue Note

Aroused by political feeling and a recognition of the social potential of art, Léger's compositions of the 1940s adopted a universal approach and elemental iconography. Seeking to appeal to the masses, Léger's aesthetic rejected the need for any narrative, subverting conventional means of pictorial representation. This new style sought to break down the divides between high and low culture by celebrating the beauty of everyday objects.

The sculptural boldness of form, line and color, the latter of which Léger proclaimed in 1938 as "a vital necessity... [a] raw material indispensable to life, like water and fire" (Carolyn Lanchner, Fernand Léger (exhibition catalogue), New York, 1998, p. 227), reflect the concepts of American sculptor Alexander Calder whom Léger had met in 1930, following which Léger wrote the introduction to an exhibition of Calder's sculptures in Paris. The shared principles are evident in each of the artist's work (see fig. 1). By eliminating any sense of perspective, the flat forms in Léger's Composition murale float in space, layered claustrophobically, neither shape permitted to be the primary focus of the composition. 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.