Sunday, June 06, 2010

Rarely seen Ledger will auctioned at Christies

Estimate cost :£500,000 - £800,000 ($731,000 - $1,169,600)
Sale Information: 7859 Impressionist/Modern Day Sale on 24 June 2010
London, King Street

A rarely seen Ferdanad Ledger painting will auctioned at Christies (Painted in 1938).

Joseph Fernand Henri Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker.

Léger was born in the Argentan, Orne, Basse-Normandie, where his father raised cattle. Fernand Léger initially trained as an architect from 1897-1899 before moving in 1900 to Paris, where he supported himself as an architectural draftsman. After military service in Versailles in 1902-1903, he enrolled at the School of Decorative Arts; he also applied to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts but was rejected. He nevertheless attended the Beaux-Arts as a non-enrolled student, spending what he described as "three empty and useless years" studying with Gérôme and others, while also studying at the Académie Julian.[1] He began to work seriously as a painter only at the age of 25. At this point his work showed the influence of Impressionism, as seen in Le Jardin de ma mère (My Mother's Garden) of 1905, one of the few paintings from this period that he did not later destroy. A new emphasis on drawing and geometry appeared in Léger's work after he saw the Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne in 1907.[2]

Lot Notes
Le vase rouge was painted during a time of great upheaval in Léger's art. His purist, geometric aesthetic had reached its culmination only a short while previously when his work had achieved a sublime balance of form and colour that was based on the integral beauty of an isolated object. Now, however, Léger began to use the forms in his paintings to disrupt and unbalance the harmony that he had strived for so fiercely.

During World War II Léger lived in the United States, where he found inspiration in the novel sight of industrial refuse in the landscape. The shock of juxtaposed natural forms and mechanical elements, the "tons of abandoned machines with flowers cropping up from within, and birds perching on top of them" exemplified what he called the "law of contrast".

Although never affiliated with the Surrealists, Léger had contact and indeed friendships with many of the movement's members and it was through their indirect influence that his art began to show an increasing disregard for 'reality' throughout the 1930s. The Rappel à l'ordre that had followed the chaos of the First World War had characterised his work for a long time, and had brought him to see the machine as the salvation of the modern world, as the ultimate vision of the future. However, by 1938, when Le vase rouge was executed, this call to order had long since ceased to influence his painting.

Turning his back on the geometry and order that represented his visual expression of purism, Léger reacted to this change in different ways. On the one hand, he continued to combine both real objects and images of abstraction together in his pictorial vocabulary, creating a new objective unity that he hoped would enhance the inherent beauty to be found in the everyday modern world. On the other, Léger began to explore with a new sense of freedom ideas of form, colour and, more importantly, dynamism, expressing what Léger called a 'lyricism in which colour, form and object play equal parts'. While the first group of works was meant to be understood by everyone, Le vase rouge belongs to the second and expanding group of works which Léger was executing with the 'educated' viewer in mind. Le vase rouge, with its exuberant explosion of planes, lines and forms, is a work packed with rhythm and energy, whose dynamism displays an ongoing process of experimentation and discovery by an artist who had always been preoccupied with movement.

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