Galerie Léonce Rosenberg, Paris
Sir Edward and Lady Hulton, London
Sale: Christie's New York, November 15, 1983
Pace Gallery, New York
Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Fernand Léger, 1956, no. 31
Rotterdam, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Munich, Sammlung Sir Edward and Lady Hulton, 1964-66, no. 24
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Sammlung Hulton, 1967-68, no. 24
New York, Helly Nahmad Gallery, Fernand Léger, 2005, no. 6
Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre Peint, 1920-1924, Paris, 1992, no. 198, illustrated p. 13
Léger first painted the subject, La Table Rouge, in 1919 (Bauquier, no. 171). In the following year, he executed an additional three variations on this still life composition: La Table Rouge (The Art Institue of Chicago, Bauquier, no. 196, see fig. 1), Nature Morte 1er état (Bauquier, no. 197), and finally, the present work which is described as l’état définif – the final state.
Released from the army in early 1918, Léger returned to painting with renewed energy and a new direction. He wrote to Léonce Rosenberg, “As soon as I was freed, I started to profit from those difficult years: I’ve reached a decision, and I’m modeling in pure local color and on a large scale without making any concessions” (quoted in Fernand Léger, 1911-1924, The Rhythm of Modern Life, New York, 1994, p. 68).
Léger’s experience in the war brought him face to face with a world being transformed through technology, weaponry and manufactured goods. His aims in painting upon his return thus moved away from the abstract, geometric forms and primary colors that dominated his paintings in the years before the war, toward renewed attention to the objects of the modern world.
The present painting shows the artist’s use of the traditional subject of the still life transformed by the fragmentation of the objects and space. Léger also executed a watercolor of the same composition (see fig. 2), and both are created through an accumulation of planes arranged in a collage-like fashion along a grid of horizontals and verticals. The off-center ellipse of the table top serves as a focal point for the seemingly disparate profusion of perspectives of the interior in which the still life is set. Léger’s concentration on local color avoids the transitions of light and shadows that indicate volume and spatial relationships, emphasizing the layered, two-dimensional character of the composition. Léger’s new conception of the painting surface involved the ability to depict the fragmented immediacy of objects; the frenetic, simultaneity of modern life.
Fig.1, Fernand Léger, La Table rouge, 1920, oil on canvas, The Art Institute of Chicago
Fig. 2, Fernand Léger, Nature morte, 1920, watercolor on paper, sold: Christie's, London, February 9, 2006, lot 601
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale