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FERNAND LÉGER (1881-1955)
signed and inscribed 'F. Léger Galerie Louis Carré' (lower center), further inscribed 'Sculptures Polychromes' (upper center and right edge) and dated '16 Janvier 53' (center)
gouache on paper
26 3/4 x 20 in (68 x 50.8 cm)
Executed on January 16, 1953
Fernand Mourlot Collection, Paris (acquired directly from the artist).
Thence by descent to the previous owner.
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 1993.
Fernand Léger created the present work in 1953 as the original design for a poster to advertise an exhibition of the artist's new sculptures at the Galerie Louis Carré in Paris. The final lithographic poster was subsequently printed by Ateliers Mourlot; the original painting remained in the Mourlot family's private collection until 1993, when it was acquired by the present owner.
The vibrancy and exuberance of the palette is a striking feature of Sculpture polychromes, and the arrangement of the elements condenses the sense of playful lyricism and dynamism that characterized Léger's works during this period. Starting in the 1930s, he endeavored to create a new pictorial language that would not aim for mimetic reproduction but instead for an abstraction inspired by nature and the imagination.
This work is accompanied by the final lithographic poster for which the present work is the preparatory painting. This accompanying print was lithographed in seven colors by Mourlot in an edition of 700.