In considering Léger’s painting technique Carolyn Lanchner explains: "Most critics saw and see Léger as a painter of hard, precisely drawn contours and of smooth slick surfaces that conceal the trace of the brush; but this is the myth. If a viewer takes the trouble to look, it becomes obvious that Léger was a painter in love with paint, and most every canvas exhibits his enjoyment of it. He leaves pentimenti visible, edges are more often than not skewed, one side of a form is generally asymmetrical with the other, and large areas of bright, saturated color often cohabit with smaller patches of strange, pastel, bedroom hues. As Léger never tired of saying, his paintings are not copies of things in the visible world, but their equivalents in paint" (ibid., p. 43). Léger had a predilection for adjusting his compositions to invoke minor changes after an initial state of what, outwardly, seemed like completion. As was commonplace in his painting practice, visible pentimenti were often left within the composition as he fine-tuned his forms, providing a visible record of his conception of compositional elements. In the present work this becomes especially apparent through a close examination of the published illustrations in its intermediary state—first published in 1955 and subsequently reproduced in the Georges Bauquier volume. It is evident that Composition received some minor alterations before it left Léger’s studio shortly thereafter; these minor modifications are primarily to the central components of the composition and are visible in the changing tonality of the various hues.
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