Lot 7
  • 7

Fernand Léger

1,200,000 - 1,800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Fernand Léger
  • Nature morte à la feuille
  • Signed F. LÉGER and dated 29 (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas


Bourdon Collection, Paris (after 1945)

Galerie Tarica, Paris (acquired from the above)

Acquired from the above by the present owners


Salzburg, Museum Moderne Kunst, Léger, L'esprit Moderne, 2002, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Barcelona, Fundacio Joan Miró, Exposicio Fernand Léger, 2002-03, no. 256


Georges Bauquier, Vivre dans le vrai, Paris, 1987, illustrated p. 312

Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné de l’oeuvre peint, 1925-1928, Paris, 1993, no. 537, illustrated in color p. 248

Catalogue Note

This composite of colorful objects is an excellent example of Léger's work at the end of the 1920s, when the aesthetic of film influenced his painting.   Film stills and moving pictures, with their capacity to be spliced and superimposed, offered artists hitherto unimaginable ways to conceptualize their world.  Léger was not immune to the lure of this new medium and its power to shuffle and fragment scenes from life and repurpose objects in entirely new contexts. "Cinema gives 'the fragment' personality," Léger marvelled in 1931.  "It sits in a frame, and thereby creates a 'new realism' whose implications may be incalculable.  A collar button, put under the projector, magnified a hundred times, becomes a radiating planet.  A brand-new lyricism of the transformed object comes into the world" (quoted in C. Lanchner, Fernand Léger (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1998, p. 206). 

When he painted the present work in the late 1920s, the penchant for Surrealism had reached a fever pitch among the avant-garde.  To a certain extent, Léger's pictures from this era incorporated elements of the Surrealist dialectic, like those found in the works of Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.  But as Carolyn Lanchner explains, "Léger aimed for a 'new realism' rather than the kind of exploration of the unconscious pursued by the Surrealists.  It was a realism of combining not just the abstract and the representational but several different modes of the representational... The combination of these various modes reflects the artist's growing interest in the aesthetic tastes of the working people.  As he had said in 1923, 'It is necessary to distract man from his enormous and often disagreeable labors, to surround him with a pervasive new plastic order in which to live'" (ibid., p. 209).

We know that Léger kept this work in his collection until at least the mid-1940s, as his post-war address is written on the stretcher of this picture.  Presumably in the 1950's the picture became a part of the Bourdon collection in Paris, and it was sold by M. Tarica in the late 1960s or early 1970s to the present owners.