Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale


Fernand Léger
1881 - 1955
signed F. Léger and dated 36 (lower right); signed F. Léger, titled and dated 36 on the reverse
oil on canvas
130 by 81cm.
51 1/8 by 31 7/8 in.
Painted 1926-36.
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Nadia Léger, Biot (the artist’s wife)

Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (no. 19515)

Private Collection, Neuilly-sur-Seine

Private Collection, Spain

Acquired from the above by the present owner


Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Fernand Léger, 1955, no. 28, illustrated in the catalogue (as dating from 1924)

Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts, L'Art en Europe autour de 1925, 1970, no. 111, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, Grand Palais, Fernand Léger, 1971-72

Milan, Palazzo Reale, Origini dell'astrattismo, 1979-80, no. 333, illustrated in the catalogue

Berlin, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Fernand Léger, 1980-81, no. 80, illustrated in the catalogue

Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts & Dallas, Museum of Fine Arts, Fernand Léger, 1982, no. 39, illustrated in the catalogue (with incorrect measurements)

Tampere, Sara Hildénin Taidemuseo, Bonnard, Braque, Gris, Léger, Matisse, 1985, illustrated in the catalogue

Paris, La Corneuve, Fête de l'Humanité, Le Corbusier, 1987

Høvikodden, Sonia Henie-Niels Onstad Kunstsenter, Frankriskes Evige Kunst, Hommage à la France, 1988, no. 28, illustrated in the catalogue (with incorrect measurements)

Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Fernand Léger, 1988-89, no. 46, illustrated in the catalogue

Seville, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Fernand Léger, 1992, illustrated in the catalogue


André Verdet, Fernand Léger, Florence, 1969, no. 15, mentioned p. 26

Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, vivre dans le vrai, Paris, 1987, illustrated p. 117

Gilles Néret, Léger, Paris, 1990, no. 265, illustrated p. 196

Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1925-1928, Paris, 1993, no. 439, illustrated in colour p. 87

Catalogue Note

In his catalogue raisonné of the artist’s oils, Georges Bauquier included the present work alongside paintings the artist produced in the 1920s, and notes that Léger signed and dated it at a later date than its completion. Stylistically the purity of the composition, strictly geometric elements and restrained palette are more like those the artist painted in the mid-1920s than those of the next decade. All paintings from this group depict the same near-abstract forms, that nonetheless possess a three-dimensional quality that gives them an architectural feel. The wall-like structure central to the present composition with its serried shelves is given depth and structure by sharply contrasting the forms in black that are flattened against the picture plane and those that recede from it. These objects are rendered with an almost mathematical precision and clarity, associated with the work of the Purist artists Le Corbusier and Amédée Ozenfant, and can be seen to have influence on the Mininimalist artists of subsequent generations such as Donald Judd (fig. 1).

Writing about Léger's paintings executed between 1925 and 1927, Christopher Green commented: ‘They are the product of a pictorial idea of the figure or object whose brutal 'plastic' simplicity is personal, but which is the product of an approach to the realities of modern life indelibly tinged with the idealism of L'Esprit Nouveau, an approach which remains stubbornly 'realist' but whose highly selective vision of the world picks out the most useful, the most geometrically 'pure', the most precisely finished of its manufacturers, and subjects even the nude or the figurative fragment to the mass-production yet 'classical' values thus extracted. And in their grand, harmonious architecture with its clear articulation of spatial incident, these paintings are at the same time the product of an international avant-garde... Their assurance and the conviction they carry is founded on more than fifteen years of faith in what was then most modern about the industrial world, of openness to what was most new in the avant-garde and of experiment in book illustration, theatre and film as well as in painting’ (C. Green, Léger and the Avant-Garde, New Haven & London, 1976, p. 310).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale