Lot 315
  • 315

Fernand Léger

200,000 - 300,000 EUR
271,500 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Fernand Léger
  • La Corde
  • signed F.LEGER and dated 35 (lower right); signed FLEGER, dated 35 and inscribed ETUDE POUR LE CORDAGE (on the reverse)
  • oil on board


Louis Clayeux, Paris
Pierre Bérès, Paris (acquired from the above circa 1950)
Private collection (by descent from the above and sold: Christie's, Paris, Pierre Berès à livre ouvert, December 12-13, 2012, lot 434)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner


Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné 1932-37, Paris, 1996, no. 870, illustrated p. 134 (incorrectly described as oil on canvas)

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1935, La Corde is one of the last works from the most intimate period of Léger's career. Between the 1920s marked by the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts where he collaborated with Le Corbusier and Mallet-Stevens and his trip to the United States in the autumn of 1935 where he assisted at his first retrospective exhibition at the MoMA and then at the Art Institute if Chicago, Léger's work reveals a heightened and unusual sensitivity for this painter of mechanized bodies (in the 1920s) before he threw himself into monumental formats from the mid-1930s.

As with La Corde, the paintings from this period are unusually soft and sensual. Léger was indeed obsessed with a woman whom he met in 1931. Until 1941 "Bear" wrote many letters to his "Jewel": "I hold you in my hands entirely in fragments as you know – I begin and I follow the line – the form, and I always finish around the mouth and the ivory teeth, your white teeth even in the night" (quoted in Silex et draperies, les années trente de Fernand Léger, Isabelle Monod-Fontaine, in Fernand Léger, Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, p.182).

If this relationship was behind this new aesthetic, an aesthetic of metamorphosis which follows an aesthetic of contrast, the general context of Surrealism should also be taken into account and its effect on Léger. The contours that link the sinuous objects are not mechanical.

With its floating forms and metaphors, La Corde opens up the romantic and poetic scope of the painting.