The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Pierre Levai.
Galerie L'Effort Moderne (Léonce Rosenberg), Paris Herbert M. Rothschild, New York Galerie Berri-Raspail, Paris (possibly) Private Collection (acquired by the mid-1980s) Acquired from the above in 2006
This rare flat-work was painted in 1918, nine years after Lipchitz's arrival in Paris from Vilna in 1909. He initially received a traditional training at the École des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Julian, but already at the onset of his career, the artist displayed an interest in a wide range of influences, from classical to tribal. During his early years in the French capital, Lipchitz met many of the leading figures of the Parisian avant-garde, who introduced him to new artistic interpretations, including the techniques of Cubism. By the time he executed this work in 1918, Lipchitz had succeeded in defining a Cubist language in sculpture that effectively transformed the tenets of this seminal movement into his dominant medium. The artist's most successful works, including Composition cubiste, arise from the years directly following World War I, when he collaborated closely with Juan Gris (see fig. 1).
The panel is sound. Examination under UV light reveals a small area of retouching (approx. 12 cm wide) to the centre of the lower edge and a few minor dots of retouching in the grey pigment, predominately along the extreme edges. There is some faint frame rubbing along the edges. There is a small network of tiny paint losses in the black pigment towards the centre of the left edge. 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.