Lot 144
  • 144

Fernand Léger

400,000 - 600,000 USD
466,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Fernand Léger
  • Le Vase jaune
  • Signed F. Léger and dated 46 (lower right); signed F. Léger., dated 46 and titled Le Vase jaune (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas


Galerie Louis Carré, Paris
Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris
Charles Nilsson, Stockholm
Acquired from the above in 1976 and thence by descent


Stockholm, Svensk-Franska Konstgalleriet, Ütställning Beaudin, Gris, Kermadec, Klee, Lascaux, Léger, Manolo, Masson, Picasso, Roger, Roux, 1947, no. 67
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Cézanne till Picasso, 1954, no. 205
Stockholm, Moderna Museet, Fernand Léger 1881-1955, 1964, no. 74


Georges Bauquier, ed., Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné 1944-1948, Paris, 1998, no. 1210, illustrated p. 101

Catalogue Note

Boldly modeled and executed with an extraordinarily scintillating palette, Le Vase jaune is one of the artist's striking compositions of the late 1940s. In contrast to the rarefied and elitist aesthetic of postwar abstraction, these paintings of stark elegance were intended to appeal to the public with a more comprehensible, figurative style and subject matter. The sophisticated composition of the present work relies upon complex arrangements of geometric and stylised forms, and Léger introduced a variety of everyday objects that shared the pictorial space equally with one another and the non-specific background elements. The artist explained his essential aesthetic as follows: "I apply the law of contrasts... I organize the opposition of contrasting values, lines, and curves. I oppose curves to straight lines, flat surfaces to molded forms, pure local colors to nuances of grey. These initial plastic forms are either superimposed on objective elements or not, it makes no difference to me. There is only a question of variety" (quoted in Edward F. Fry, ed., Fernand Léger: The Functions of Painting, New York, 1973, pp. 24-25).

The present work exemplifies Léger's firm commitment to figuration and his fascination with the expressive potential of color—the two defining stylistic factors of his work during the last decade of his life. Here he has rendered the pictorial elements with a sharp clarity that is characteristic of his mature work, using a vivid plane of orange for the background, and articulating the pictorial elements' contours with bold, black lines. The colors, in keeping with his works of this period, are fully saturated, voluminous and substantial, creating a work of magnificent visual presence.