Lot 58
  • 58

Leonor Fini

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
224,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Leonor Fini
  • La Grange Batelière
  • signed Leonor Fini (lower right); signed L. Fini, titled and dated 1977 on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
  • 75.5 by 170.5cm.
  • 29 3/4 by 67 1/8 in.


Acquired from the artist by the father of the present owners in 1978


Paris, Galerie Les Arts Plastiques Modernes, Leonor Fini, 1978, no. 5, details illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Ostend, Casino-Kursaal, Leonor Fini, 1980, no. 51

Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, Leonor Fini, 1986, no. 43, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Jean-Claude Dedieu, Leonor Fini, Paris, 1978, illustrated in colour pp. 106-107

Constantin Jelenski et al.Leonor Fini. Découverte et Masquée, Paris, 1978

Xavière Gauthier, Leonor Fini, 1979, illustrated p. 69

Leonor Fini, Le Livre de Leonor Fini, Lausanne, 1979, illustrated in colour pp. 228-229

Jacques Audiberti et al., Leonor Fini, Paris, 1981, illustrated in colour n.p. and detail illustrated in colour on the cover

Juan Pineiro, 'Rencontre avec Leonor Fini', in Masques, Paris, no. 12, 1981

Pierre Borgue, Leonor Fini ou le théâtre de l'Imaginaire, Paris, 1983, fig. 93, illustrated p. 271

Titziana Villani, Parcours dans l'œuvre de Leonor Fini, Paris, 1989

Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, Rosaria Guacci & Marisa Rusconi (eds.), Il pozzo segreto: Cinquanta scrittrici italiane, Florence, 1993, a detail illustrated in colour on the cover

Contemporary Great Masters (ed.), Leonor Fini, Tokyo, 1993

Leonor Fini, Leonor Fini, Peintures, Paris, 1994, illustrated in colour pp. 68-69

Jocelyne Godard, Leonor Fini ou les métamorphoses d'une œuvre, Paris, 1996, illustrated p. 131

Kiwaka Ogata, Leonor Fini. A New Species which Violates Boundaries, Tokyo, 2006

Peter Webb, Leonor Fini. Métamorphoses d'un art, Paris, 2007, illustrated in colour p. 254

Peter Webb, Sphinx. The Life and Art of Leonor Fini, New York, 2009, illustrated in colour p. 254

Catalogue Note

Born in Buenos Aires, Fini first came to Paris in 1931 and quickly became assimilated into the artistic circles of the avant-garde. Although influenced by the Surrealists, whom she met through her relationship with Max Ernst, she was too independent to ever formally join them, preferring to work in her own uniquely imaginative way. She produced a body of work that is characterised by a perceptive and playful understanding of human emotion, a striking visual acuity and an adamantly feminist sensibility.

Painted in 1977, La Grange Batelière illustrates many of the most important influences in Fini’s painting, from the Renaissance and Mannerist masterpieces that filled the books littering her studio, to the flamboyant stage sets and costumes that she designed throughout her career. Combining a delicate palette with a theatrical sense of scale and composition, Fini creates a mesmerising and darkly atmospheric subterranean world. Discussing the inspiration for this painting, she explained: ‘From the Phantom of the Opera films and from some books I read I discovered that there was a lake under the Opéra called La Grange Batelière with boats on it. And at another time grain had been stored there. So I imagined the grain barn as a dark lake with ferry boats, peopled with dancers and actresses and singers with flowers in their hair. If you like, they are survivors after a cataclysm […]. The woman in the centre knows how to survive […]. She is the bride of the water’ (quoted in P. Webb, op. cit., 2009, p. 255). As Peter Webb explains: ‘The importance of water as a primeval and positive element is a theme that runs through much of Leonor’s work’ (ibid., p. 255). Her belief that it brought knowledge and wisdom and that women in particular were intuitively receptive to its insights finds full expression in La Grange Batelière, which remains among the most compelling of her late works.