1901 - 1982
THE MESSENGER (MAN WITH KITES)
signed with initials LK and dated '43 (lower right); also signed and dated again and titled The Messenger/or/Man with Kites (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
40 by 30 inches
(101.6 by 76.2 cm)
The canvas is unlined and there is frame abrasion along the extreme edges. There is scattered fine surface cracking primarily in the sky. The canvas appears slightly loose on the stretcher. Under UV: there is inpainting to address frame abrasion along the extreme edges, a 3-inch horizontal line in the sky at upper right, and a few other scattered lines and dots. Some of this inpainting appears visible in natural light.
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.
Estate of the above
Acquired by the present owner from the above
(possibly) New York, Julien Levy Gallery, Leon Kelly, February-March 1944
New York, Francis Naumann Fine Art, Leon Kelly, An American Surrealist, April-June 2008, no. 9, p. 92, illustrated p. 31
(possibly) Emily Genauer, “Julien Levy Gallery,” New York Telegram, February 1944, (as Man with Kite)
By the 1940s, Leon Kelly had progressed from his early experimentation with analytic Cubism towards an interest in Surrealism. Kelly initially studied at the School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before training with Arthur B. Carles and the Cubist Earle Horter at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Following his schooling, he spent six year in Paris where he eschewed the city's avant-garde art community in favor of extended trips to the Louvre to copy the works of the Old Masters. By 1943, Kelly had returned to the United States and was at work on a series of macabre Surrealist canvases, such as The Messenger (Man with Kites), that focused on depictions of human musculature surrounded by abstracted forms.