signed with the artist's initials and dated 'F.L. 20' (lower right)
watercolour, India ink and pencil on paper
18 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (47.5 x 31.2 cm.)
Executed in 1920
Artist or Maker
Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
New York, James Goodman Gallery, 6 Artists in 3 Forms - Part II, November 1986, no. 15.
London, Waddington Galleries, Works on Paper and Sculpture, September - October 1993, no. 15 (p. 33).
The artist's studio.
Galerie Berggruen, Paris.
Galerie Ariel, Paris (no. 5123).
Pace Gallery, New York.
Hirsch & Adler Galleries, New York (no. HA 12967D).
Private collection, Paris.
Galerie 1900-2000, Paris.
Galerie Melki, Paris.
James Goodman Gallery, New York, by 1986.
Waddington Galleries, London (no. B21185), by 1993.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Executed in 1920, Composition is powerfully emblematic of Fernand characteristic verve and force through the dynamism of his colour choice. 'For me, the mechanical element is not a fixed position, an attitude, but a means of succeeding in conveying a feeling of strength and power....I try to create a beautiful object with mechanical elements' (quoted in Fernand Léger, New York, 1987, p. 12).
It is a tribute to the importance of this work that its provenance includes the Galerie Berggruen founded by heinz Berggruen, one of Europe's foremost collectors and avid supporters of modern art. Born in Berlin in 1914, Mr Berggruen emigrated to the USA in 1936, where he worked as an art journalist and as a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Art. He served in the U.S. armed forces during the Second World War, after which he returned to Europe and lived in Paris. His fascination with modern art led to the establishment of his own gallery, which was rapidly to become a leading player on the international art scene. Mr Berggruen supported and forged friendships with the most important modern artists of the day whose work not only passed through his gallery but also formed part of his famed private collection.
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