Lot 171
  • 171

Jean Metzinger

400,000 - 600,000 USD
610,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jean Metzinger
  • Femme au faisan
  • Signed J Metzinger (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas


Léonce Rosenberg (Galerie de l'Effort Moderne), Paris
Acquired from the above and thence by descent


Bulletin de l'Effort Moderne, Paris, April 1927, no. 34, illustrated n.p.

Catalogue Note

After participating in the Cubist movement, Jean Metzinger exhibited increasing individualism in his work from the 1920s. Forms in these works become progressively streamlined and contain geometrically simplified elements that embody the Art Deco aesthetic of the early 1920s and 30s as well as the impact of the Purism of Ozenfant and Le Corbusier during this time—a search for classical beauty and balance that characterized the so-called rappel à l’ordre influenced many avant-garde artists working in Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. As Joann Moser writes, "... the unusual iconography of these works distinguishes them from the work of any other artist and engages the viewer's imagination to a degree that many earlier works do not. The introduction of spatial complexities... counterbalances the strongly decorative appearance of these works" (Joann Moser, Jean Metzinger in Retrospect (exhibition catalogue), The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Iowa, 1985, p. 104).

Femme au faisan is an extraordinary example of this iconography counterbalanced by layered spatial elements. The bold use of primary colors and incorporation of Neo-Classical architectural references underscore the dialogue between Metzinger and his friend and contemporary Fernand Léger (see fig. 1). Writing about Léger’s works of 1927, Douglas Cooper expresses the conceptual underpinnings of Metzinger's Femme au faisan: "Gradually he exchanged the monumental for the living. The architectural elements disappeared and were replaced by scattered objects setting up a rhythm between themselves, while the space in which they moved was created by pushing the objects into the foreground and setting up a play of colours in the background. The objects are related to each other by means of carefully controlled chromatic values, by similar or opposing rhythms and by the use of lines of direction which weave in and out through the whole composition. Léger places his objects at just the right distance from each other: they are held there by virtue of the laws of harmony and rhythm’ (Douglas Cooper, Fernand Léger et le nouvel espace, London, 1949, p. XIV).