Lot 139
  • 139

Albert Gleizes

200,000 - 300,000 GBP
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  • Albert Gleizes
  • Vaudeville
  • signed Alb Gleizes, dated N.Y. 1917 (lower right)
  • oil on board
  • 120.8 by 99.8cm., 47 1/2 by 39 1/4 in.


Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (acquired in 1936)
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (bequeathed from the above in 1937; sale: Sotheby's, London, 2nd July 1974, lot 80)
Private Collection, Sweden (purchased at the above sale; sale: Sotheby's, London, 6th February 2013, lot 117)
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner


New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Albert Gleizes, 1881-1953, A Retrospective Exhibition, 1964, no. 114, illustrated in the catalogue


Anne Varichon, Albert Gleizes, Catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1998, vol. I, no. 773, illustrated in colour p. 263


The board is stable. UV light examination reveals small scattered spots and lines of retouching in places, including a thin line approx. 8cm. long to the central white pigment. There are some minor flecks of paint loss in places, predominantly to the white pigment. This work is in overall good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Strikingly composed of vibrantly coloured geometric forms, Vaudeville was painted when Albert Gleizes was living in New York during the First World War. Gleizes moved to New York in 1915 with his wife, Juliette Roche, having been demobilised from army service. He was instantly captivated by the city, finding artistic inspiration in the sounds, forms and colours of New York, and sought to capture the sensations of the bustling metropolis within his paintings. As Peter Brooke and Christian Briend write, 'In the animated neighborhood around Broadway, it was the neon illuminated advertisements that caught the attention of Gleizes and inspired him to a very liberal extension of Cubist practice. The transparency effects and dynamic superimposing seem to recall the syncopated jazz rhythms of the music that Gleizes had also discovered upon his arrival in New York' (Peter Brooke & Christian Briend, Albert Gleizes, Le Cubisme en majesté (exhibition catalogue), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon & Musée Picasso, Paris, 2001, p. 82). By 1917, when the present work was painted, Gleizes had further developed his technique, moving away from the somewhat frenetic compositions of his early New York paintings towards a more ordered and superbly controlled exposition of Cubist forms.

The importance of the present work was attested to by its inclusion in the prestigious collection of Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York, who acquired it in 1936 and bequeathed it to The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum a year later, eventually selling it at Sotheby's in London in 1974 after more than 30 years in his collection. Standing as a powerful example of the connections and dynamic artistic exchange between Europe and the US at the time Vaudeville is a significant work within Gleizes’ œuvre, and various preparatory drawings exist, one of which was also given to the Guggenheim by Hilla Rebay in 1938 and then deaccessioned in 1986.

As a co-founder of the Salon d'Automne and member of the Salon des Indépendants, Gleizes was heavily influenced by Henri Le Fauconnier, Jean Metzinger and other members of the Cubist circle. Soon discovering his own pictorial language, Gleizes sought to deconstruct the objects which appear in his canvases, reorganising them in rhythmically shifting planes. By 1911, he was among the outstanding Cubist exhibitors in the Salon des Indépendants and co-author with Jean Metzinger of the treatise Du Cubisme. This was the first publication to offer a definition of Cubism and the ideas set forth therein were an inspiration to many of Gleizes' contemporaries, including Roger de Fresnaye and Fernand Léger. Gleizes continued to develop his creative language over the following years, pushing the Cubist vernacular to its limits. Brookes goes so far as to argue that ‘Gleizes can claim, justifiably, to have gone further with Cubism than any other painter’ (Peter Brookes, Albert Gleizes, For and Against the Twentieth Century, New Haven, 2001, p. x). In its combination of abstract shapes and quotidian objects reduced to their most elemental form, Vaudeville stands as a magnificent exemplar of Gleizes’ utterly distinctive and pioneering artistic practice.