Edouard Léon Louis Edy-Legrand (French, 1892-1970) Voyages
Lot 17AR
Edouard Warschawsky, dit Edy-Legrand (1892-1970) Voyages
Sold for £8,750 (US$ 13,692) inc. premium

Lot Details
Edouard Warschawsky, dit Edy-Legrand (1892-1970)
Voyages
signed 'Edy Legrand' (lower left); inscribed and dated ' "VOYAGES"/ ...61-1962 ' (on the reverse), and further inscribed 'EDY-LEGRAND 25 AV. DE WAGRAM, PARIS 17' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
130 x 99.5cm (51 3/16 x 39 3/16in).
Painted in 1961-62

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Edith Sophia Nathanson, the artist's niece (a gift from the artist).

    Painted in 1961-1962, Voyages is a kaleidoscopic culmination of Edy-Legrand's previous experiments and styles, as hinted at by the title. Les fiancés (lot 16) was probably painted slightly earlier, and perfectly illustrates the artist's transition from the figurative to the abstract late in his career. Common to both canvases, however, is the artist's characteristically riotous use of colour, sheer energy and joyful application of paint.

    Edy-Legrand initially trained as an illustrator, a discipline that is evident in his later work and indeed a profession to which he returned repeatedly. A deft and lyrical use of line can certainly be seen in Voyages, in which a grid-like central focus formed of strong verticals and horizontals is softened by swoops and curlicues of brighter pigment. Meanwhile, the busy brushwork behind this matrix causes the paint surface to shimmer and pulsate beneath our gaze, recollecting perhaps the young artist's excitement on his first exposure to the dynamic streets of New York.

    Introduced to the artist by Pierre Bonnard, Maria Steiner persuaded Edy-Legrand to exhibit in America in the 1930s. The buzzing metropolis of New York, and exposure to the works of artists such as Cézanne in public and private collections, marked a turning point in his career. From there, he travelled extensively, visiting Holland, Italy and Spain before settling in Morocco for twenty years. His palette noticeably brightened through this extended sojourn, and while first drawn to the dramatic landscapes of the Atlas Mountains, his attention was soon captivated by the incessant crowds of the cities, their colourful costumes and the exotic mise-en-scène. Although painted after his return to Provence, both Voyages and Les fiancés share the vibrant hues of his North African works.

    Edy-Legrand's return to France marked a move away from figurative compositions towards the abstract, as exemplified in Voyages. This transition is hinted at in Les fiancés, whose main elements – the lovers, the exuberant bouquet of flowers and their surroundings – are easily readable and yet are only saved from tumbling into the confusion of the flattened picture plane by the artist's control of line.
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