Lot 426
  • 426

ROGER DE LA FRESNAYE | Le Coin de table

120,000 - 180,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Roger de la Fresnaye
  • Le Coin de table
  • signed R de La Fresnaye and dated 12 (lower left)
  • oil on canvas
  • 73 x 60 cm; 28 3/4  x 23 5/8  in.
  • Painted in 1912.


Collection Saccard
Galerie Maeght, Paris
Jerome Hill, California
Galerie Bellier, Paris
Private collection, France


Paris, Galerie Levesque, Peintures, dessins, aquarelles de Roger de la Fresnaye, 1914
Paris, Galerie Barbazanges, Exposition rétrospective des œuvres de Roger de la Fresnaye, 1926, no. 34 (probably)
Paris, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Roger de la Fresnaye, 1950, no. 52, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Knoedler & Co, Roger de la Fresnaye, 1951, no. 9
Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Fiftieth anniversary exhibition, 1915-1965, 1965-66, illustrated in the catalogue
Musée de Tessé, Le Mans and Barcelona, Museo Picasso, Cubisme et Tradition, 2005-06, no. 55, illustrated in the catalogue


Germain Seligman, Roger de la Fresnaye, Neuchâtel, 1969, no. 129, illustrated p. 153


It has not been possible to see the work entirely unframed. The canvas is not lined. Examination under UV light reveals some spots of retouching in the cream pigment, to the upper right and lower left and right quadrants and a few further tiny dots of retouching in the red pigment to the upper left quadrant and along the extreme edges. There are a few lines of craquelure in places, only visible under close inspection. There is some frame rubbing along the extreme edges. 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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Le Coin de Table was painted in 1912. A 27 year old painter - along with other young painters and sculptors of the Groupe de Puteaux - was at a revolutionary, stylistic crossroads. La Fresnaye's remarkable still-life was created in the heat of the founding of La Section d'Or and the organization of what would become the century's first great collective cubist manifestation. It took place at the Galerie La Boétie in October of 1912. La Fresnaye and the other principal figures of the cubist movement showed their work, with the notable exception of Picasso, whose spirit nonetheless presided over the event. Four months later, the Armory Show opened its doors to a stunned New York public. The earthquake engendered by avant-garde European Modernism rocked the American artistic scene. Once again, La Fresnaye was present at this crucial moment, and his four entries at the landmark event hung beside paintings by Picasso, Braque, Delaunay, Gleizes, Picabia, Duchamp, Archipenko and Brancusi. In 1914, Le Coin de Table was exhibited for the first time in public. La Fresnaye, clearly proud of it, gave the seminal painting a place of honor in his one-man-show at the Galerie Levesque in Paris. Apollinaire praised the event as being "the most important exhibition of the year by a young artist". In a period photo, the still-life can be seen, proudly holding its own on the right side of the rear wall, not far from a large scale composition related to it (La Vie Conjugale, The Barnes Collection). Le Coin de Table is a daring and successful work. Its originality resides in its subject-matter and in the artist's poetic use of border-less edges which suggest movement, and also the possibility that the elements of his still-life will eventually work their way, unimpeded, to the outer edges of the canvas. In his catalogue raisonné, the La Fresnaye scholar, Germain Seligman observes that the planes of perspective in the painting radiate outward like the spokes of a wheel from its central axis, giving them thrust. Since the elements are fragmented, the edges of the composition frayed and dissolving, solidity is threatened. Is the painting, then, a metaphor for progress ? The painted surface, a superficial, uppermost layer on the arena of the canvas, is being sucked into the vortex of a central pivotal point, the circular mirror (an object rich with symbolic significance). Thus, the vestiges of the past are contracting rather than expanding and are making room for a future that is blank, white, and as yet to be defined. Le Coin de Table is a work of a genius by an artist who died young and who painted relatively little. His legacy of marvelously crafted compositions figure among the best productions of his generation. La Fresnaye was never tempted to enter into the labyrinth of Synthetic Cubism, with its kaleidoscopic fragmentation and its multiple planes. He chose, rather, to experiment with simpler, more legible solutions and his vision resolutely pointed to the future. It would pave the way for "après le Cubisme" - the post-war Purism of Léger, Man Ray, Ozenfant, Le Corbusier.