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La Partie de Campagne
La Partie de Campagne

À propos de l'objet

Léger's La Partie de Campagne is one of a series of monumental oils completed between 1952 and 1954, devoted to the subject of a country outing.  At over one-and-a-half meters high, this work is related to an even larger version now in the collection of the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.  Unlike that larger picture from 1954, which provides a more expansive view of the landscape, the present work from 1952-53 focuses solely on the central characters.  These transparent figures, rendered in heavy black outline, are given their color by independent and broad bands of red, blue, green and yellow that sweep across the canvas.  Léger once explained this liberal approach to color as it applies to this series:  "You are talking to someone and all of a sudden he become blue," he said.  "As soon as that colour fades another comes and he turns red or yellow.  That kind of colour, projected colour, is free; it exists in space.  I wanted to have the same thing in my canvases" (quoted in Simon Willmoth, "Léger in America" in Fernand Léger: The Late Years (exhibition catalogue), London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1987-88, p. 51). Léger's modeling of the figures themselves, including the reclining woman and the suited bourgeois gentleman, is an obvious quotation of Manet's 1863 masterwork, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe. But it is with considerable creative license that Léger has reinterpreted the notorious 19th century picnic scene for his La Partie de Campagne series.  Léger was a life-long admirer of Manet and considered him the most important innovator in the history of art.  Similar to Picasso's focus on the old masters in the 1950s, Léger was mindful of the artists of the past and decided to pay tribute to one of his favorites during these last few months of his life.  Both he and Manet shared radical political affiliations, and Léger felt a sense of comradery with the artist.  At the time he painted this work, Léger was an active proponent of Socialist ideas and a defender of the communist party.  Many of his pictures from this time were allusions to labor rights and other political issues sympathetic to that cause.  Along with the series of La Partie de Campagne, Léger also completed another series entitled Les Campeurs, which further explores Manet's original theme and broader ideas of contemporary politics.\nLa Partie de Campagne incorporates the solidly linear figures that had populated Léger's best work since the 1920s.  Shape and form were primary concerns for the artist, but by the last years of his career he began to incorporate narrative into his highly-geometric compositions.  In this picture, the juxtaposition of the curvilinear family against the architecturally detailed natural setting reveals the medley of shapes and forms that have become part of the contemporary landscape.  Léger was fascinated with social progress, and the campers, construction workers, and circus performers that he painted in the 1950s celebrate the activities of modern life.\nConcerning the contrasts inherent in these pictures from the 1950s, Léger said, "If I was able to approach very close to a realistic figuration, it was because the violent constrast between my workmen and the metal geometry in which they are set is at its maximum.  Modern sculptures, whether social or other, are valid insofar as this law of contrasts is respected; otherwise one falls back on the classical picture of the Italian Renaissance" (quoted in Werner Schmalenbach, Fernand Léger, New York, 1976, p. 162).\nSigned F. LÉGER and dated 52-53  (lower right); signed F. LÉGER, titled La partie de campagne (fragment), dated 52/53 and numbered no. 356 on the reverse


Oil on canvas




Original canvas. Under ultra-violet light, there is no evidence of retouching. Overall, this work is in excellent 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. 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.


63 3/4 by 44 7/8 in.


Paris, Maison de la Pensée Française, Fernand Léger, Oeuvres Récentes, 1953-1954, 1954, no. 40 Leverkusen, Städtisches Museum, Fernand Léger, 1955, no. 16 (probably) Paris, Salon de Mai, Hommage à Léger, 1956, no. 104 Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Fernand Léger, 1881-1955, 1956, no. 145, illustrated in the catalogue Basel, Kunsthalle, Fernand Léger, 1957, no. 98, illustrated in the catalogue Munich, Haus der Kunst & Zürich, Kunsthaus, Fernand Léger, 1881-1955, 1957, no. 129, illustrated in the catalogue New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Fernand Léger: Five themes and variations, 1962, no. 66, illustrated in the catalogue Strasbourg, Château des Rohan, La grande aventure de l'art du xxe siècle, 1963 New York, Perls Galleries, Fernand Léger: Oil paintings, 1968, no. 31, illustrated in color in the catalogue London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Fernand Léger: The Late Years, 1987-88, no. 48, illustrated in color in the catalogue Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou; Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia & New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Fernand Léger, 1997-98, illustrated in color in the catalogue New York, Helly Nahmad Gallery, Fernand Léger, 2005, no. 29, illustrated in color in the catalogue Riehen, Fondation Beleyer, Fernand Léger, Paris-New York, 2008, no. 102, illustrated in color in the catalogue


Georges Bauqier, Irus Hansma & Claude Lefebvre du Prey, Fernand Léger, Catalogue de l'oeuvre peint, 1952-53, Paris, 2013, no. 1553, illustrated p. 151


Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris (acquired from the artist and until at least 1962) Perls Galleries, New York (from as early as 1968 until at least 1988) Private Collection (acquired from the above)  Private Collection, Europe (acquired from the above in 1990) Acquired by the present owner in 2010


Signed F. LÉGER and dated 52-53  (lower right); signed F. LÉGER, titled La partie de campagne (fragment), dated 52/53 and numbered no. 356 on the reverse


Painted in 1952-53.


Property from an Important Private Collection



*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.

*Merci de noter que le prix n'est pas recalculé à la valeur actuelle, mais se rapporte au prix final réel au moment où l'objet a été vendu.