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FERNAND LEGER (1881-1955)

 
FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in. FERNAND LEGER - Le Vase Bleu - oil on canvas - 15 x 18 in.
Le Vase Bleu193615 x 18 in.(38.1 x 45.72 cm) oil on canvas
Provenance
Galerie Louise Léris, Paris (inv. 0703/6609)
Perls Galleries, New York
Collection privée
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“To be free and yet not to lose touch with reality, that is the drama of that epic figure who is variously called inventor, artist or poet.” – Fernand Léger

History

By 1936, the year Fernand Léger painted Le Vase Bleu, he had been in a decade-long commitment to an approach he called “Objects in Space” that reduced the elements of Cubism to a faint, redolent echo of its analytical nature — that is, if one could look past the oddly shaped, organic and irregular forms that belay the formality of his ‘mechanical’ works of the 1920s. He explained it in this way: “I took the object, I blew up the table, I put the object in the air, without perspective, without support. I scattered my objects in space and made them hold together by making them shine forward on the canvas.” It was a development Braque could not have imagined; images of modern life with objects thrown on the picture plane in a sort of play of aerial forms whereupon each element was designed to cut across barriers of class and education. Robert Hughes described its impact as “a didactic art for the man in the street, not highly refined, but clear, definite, pragmatic, and rooted in everyday experience.” (Hughes, Robert, Shock of the New, Alfred A. Knopf Inc., 1980, p. 34)

More
  • Leger38527_history1
    Fernand Léger, Photograph by Ida Kar, 1954, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Leger38527_history2
    Fernand Léger, Composition 1932, Gouache and India ink on paper
  • Leger38527_history3
    Fernand Léger, Composition au Cordage 1935, Oil on canvas
  • Leger38527_history4
    Fernand Léger, Composition au vase Bleu, 1937
“Modern man lives more and more in a preponderantly geometric order. All human creation mechanical or industrial is dependent upon geometric intentions.” – Fernand Léger

Top Results at Auction

“Contraste de formes” (1913), oil on burlap, 36 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 13 November 2017 for $70,062,496 USD
“Contraste de formes” (1913), oil on burlap, 36 1/2 x 18 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 13 November 2017 for $70,062,496 USD
“La femme en bleu” (1912-1913), oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 07 May 2008 for $39,241,000 USD
“La femme en bleu” (1912-1913), oil on canvas, 51 1/4 x 38 1/4 in. Sold at Sotheby’s New York: 07 May 2008 for $39,241,000 USD
“La femme en rouge et vert” (1914), oil on canvas, 39 ¾ x 31 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 04 November 2003 for $22,407,500 USD
“La femme en rouge et vert” (1914), oil on canvas, 39 ¾ x 31 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 04 November 2003 for $22,407,500 USD
“Les cylindres colorés” (1918), inkjet and acrylic on canvas, 21 ½  x 19 ¾  in. Sold at Christie’s London: 04 February 2014 for $19,671,504 USD
“Les cylindres colorés” (1918), inkjet and acrylic on canvas, 21 ½ x 19 ¾ in. Sold at Christie’s London: 04 February 2014 for $19,671,504 USD

Comparable Paintings Sold at Auction

“Composition au chapeau” (1927), oil on canvas, 18 x 25 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 19 June 2013 for $1,600,000 USD
“Composition au chapeau” (1927), oil on canvas, 18 x 25 in. Sold at Sotheby’s London: 19 June 2013 for $1,600,000 USD
  • Another wonderful example of Leger’s cubist style at an intimate scale
  • Both works show Leger’s interest in geometry and attention to composition
“Composition au vase bleu” (1937), oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 36 1/4 in. Sold at Artcurial: 04 June 2018 for $1,054,000 USD
“Composition au vase bleu” (1937), oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 36 1/4 in. Sold at Artcurial: 04 June 2018 for $1,054,000 USD
  • Although a larger composition than “Le vase Bleu”, the work shares a similar subject and was painted just one year later
  • Both works show Leger’s mastery of line and form in his still life subjects
“Composition au veston” (1934), oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 13 November 2015 for $845,000 USD
“Composition au veston” (1934), oil on canvas, 19 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. Sold at Christie’s New York: 13 November 2015 for $845,000 USD
  • Comparable still life executed just two years prior to “Le Vase Bleu”
  • Both works are early and show the artist experimenting with form and multiple compositional elements
“I organize the opposition between colors, lines and curves. I set curves against straight lines, patches of color against plastic forms, pure colors against subtly nuanced shades of gray.” – Fernand Léger

Additional Resources

Revisit the 1998 Léger retrospective at MoMA through their rich archive of installation images and publications
Learn about Léger’s approach to Cubism through this video from the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Explore the 2013-2014 Léger exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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