137
137

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, WESTCHESTER, NEW YORK

Fernand Léger
PERSONNAGE
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 324,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
137

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION, WESTCHESTER, NEW YORK

Fernand Léger
PERSONNAGE
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 324,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
New York

Fernand Léger
1881 - 1955
PERSONNAGE
Signed with the initials F.L. and dated 17 (lower right)
Watercolor and pencil on paper backed with Japan paper
12 1/4 by 9 1/4 in.
31.1 by 23.5 cm
Executed in 1917.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Galerie Boesiger und Indermauer (H.V. Gasser), Zurich
Erna & Curt Burgauer, Zurich (acquired circa 1949)
Michael O'Brian, New York
Sale: Christie’s, New York, November 15, 1990, lot 130
Jeffrey H. Loria & Co., Inc., New York
Richard Frary, New York
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York
Acquired from the above 

Literature

Willy Rotzler & Curt Burgauer, Das Lebenslänglishe Interview, St. Gallen, 1970, no. 209, illustrated p. 73
Jean Cassou & Jean Leymarie, Fernand Léger, Dessins et gouaches, nouvelle édition, 2012, no. 2-361, http://www.legerdessinsetgouaches.com/tableaux/personnage/ (accessed on February 27, 2017)

Catalogue Note

Léger’s era was defined by an industrialization of work and leisure at a dizzying pace, and Léger believed the artist’s role was to document this transformation. Machine and mass-produced objects were themes he would return to constantly throughout his career, yet he never limited himself to mechanical themes, as evidenced by the present work which is an investigation into the human form and the possibilities of shapes. Personnage exemplifies the “éléments mécaniques” style that characterizes Léger's works of the late 1910s and early 1920s. The Cubist idioms that Léger developed in the initial decade of the movement were unique for their insistence upon the purity of primary color and reliance upon a machinist aesthetic—elements that pervade the current work. Following the success of his “Contraste de forms” series which often focused upon the urban landscape, Léger turned to the human figure in his exploration of mechanical forms. 

The recurring interchangeable geometric elements—the cone, cylinder, and disk—create lines, planes and volumes that coexist harmoniously and are presented to the viewer from multiple perspectives, creating a lively and engaging composition. Among the most innovative aspects of Léger’s style was his ability to create complex compositions from a limited range of forms, an accomplishment that was completely new to the realm of modern painting.

Léger described this new development in his painting at a lecture at Marie Wassilief's Académie in May 1913: “'The realistic value of a work of art is completely independent of any imitative character,’ he explained. ‘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 Colors… 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 Dorothy Kosinski, ed., Fernand Léger, 1911-1924, The Rhythm of Modern Life, Munich & New York, 1994, pp. 66-67).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

|
New York