Fernand Léger, Visage aux deux mains (Face with Two Hands), 1954


Fernand Leger Face with Two Hands

Signed Fernand Léger Terracota low relief ceramic plaque; white clay with orange, yellow, blue, red, and black glazed enamel, Visage aux deux mains (Face with Two Hands), 1954

Artist: Fernand Léger (1881 - 1955)

Title: Visage aux deux mains (Face with Two Hands), 1954

Medium: Terracota low relief ceramic plaque; white clay with orange, yellow, blue, red, and black glazed enamel

Image Size: DIMENSIONS:17 1/3 in x 14 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in (44 cm x 37 cm x 4.5 cm)

Edition: We believe the edition of 250 was never fully realized.

Signature: This work is initialed ‘F.L.’ by Fernand Léger (Argentan, 1881- Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) in black in the lower right. Titled and annotated on the verso in pencil, ‘Visage aux 2 mains | Edition d’apres | l’œuvre | originale | de | F. Leger [signature] N. Leger

Condition: This work is in excellent condition.

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Historical Description of this artwork


Fernand Leger Visage aux deux mains (Face with Two Hands), 1954 takes its inspiration from the artist’s personal life. Having been continuously inspired by his wife, Nadia, this work represents her visage which is partly hidden and slightly framed by the manner of her hands and the positioning of the brilliant bands of color which bisect the composition. It is an intriguing and engaging ceramic piece – its low relief of the black line is slightly raised to create a stunning effect.

According to Y. Brunhammer (2005), “The first low reliefs of 1950-52 were inspired by paintings and still lifes painted in 1936, 1937 and 1938 in strongly contrasted colours, in which the object and colour had replaced the ‘subject’ inherited from the Renaissance. These were the years that Léger was exploring mural decoration with his architect friends Robert Mallet-Steves, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and later Paul Nelson, who had moved to Paris, for the Hanging House in 1939. His ceramic work was due to an unusual affinity with Roland Brice, who had moved to Biot in 1949 to work full-time on pottery” (132).

Created in 1954, this terracotta low relief ceramic plaque; white clay with orange, yellow, blue, red, and black glazed enamel is initialed ‘F.L.’ by Fernand Léger (Argentan, 1881- Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) in black in the lower right; titled and annotated on the verso in pencil, ‘Visage aux 2 mains | Edition d’apres | l’œuvre | originale | de | F. Leger [signature] N. Leger. We believe the edition of 250 was never realized.

Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
Fernand Leger Face with Two Hands (Visage aux deux mains), 1954 is fully documented and referenced in the below catalogue raisonnés and texts (copies will be enclosed as added documentation with the invoices that will accompany the sale of the work).

1. Brunhammer, Y. (2005). Fernand Léger: The Monumental Art. 5 Continents Editions: Milan. Listed and illustrated as catalogue raisonné no. 146. Further discussion on pgs. 132 & 140.

2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.

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The Certificate of Authenticity accompanies this work, guaranteeing its authenticity for as long as you own it.

All catalogue raisonné and historical documentation is included with your purchase.

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Why Leger?

Fernand Leger's unique Cubism contains its own populist vocabulary. The French artist's monumental figures speak to everyone; his strong color work and graphic sensibility characterize his prints, lithographs, paintings, sculptures and art.

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Artistic Styles of Leger

20th Century French Modern Master, pochoir, ceramic and tapestries

Fernand Leger Complete Biography

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Fernand Leger
Fernand Leger (1881-1955)

Fernand Leger Biography

French painter and designer. From c.1909 Fernand Leger participated in the Cubist movement. He is generally considered one of its major masters but his curvilinear and tubular forms (he was for a time called a ‘tubist‘) contrasted with the fragmented forms preferred by Picasso and Braque. The First World War, during which he was gassed whilst serving as a stretcher-bearer, had a profound effect on Leger. His contact with men of different social classes and different walks of life came as a revelation: ‘I was abruptly thrust into a reality which was both blinding and new,’ he said. Henceforward he made it his ambition to create an art which should be accessible to all ranks of modem society.

In 1920 he met Le Corbusier and Ozenfant and in the early 1920s he was associated with their Purist movement. Fernand Leger’s paintings were static, with the precise and polished facture of machinery, and he had a fondness for including representations of mechanical parts.During the late 1920s and 1930s he also painted single objects isolated in space and sometimes blown up to gigantic size, In the inter-war years he expanded his range beyond easel painting, with murals and designs for the theatre and cinema. He was also busy as a teacher, notably at his own school, the Academie de I’Art Contemporain, and he traveled widely, making three visits to the USA in the 1930s. The connections he had made there stood him in good stead when he lived in America. During the Second World War he lived in the USA, teaching at Yale University, and at Mills College, California. Acrobats and cyclists were favorite subjects in his paintings of this time. From his return to France in 1945 his painting reflected more prominentlyhis political interest in the working classes. But its static, monumental style remained, with flat, unmodulated colours, heavy black contours, and a continuing concern with the contrast between cylindrical and rectilinear forms. in his later career Fernand Leger worked much on large decorative commissions, notably the windows and tapestries for the church at Audincourt (1951). Many honours came to him late in life, and a museum dedicated to him opened at Biot in France in 1957. In the catalogue of the exhibition Leger and Purist Paris’ (Tate Gallery, London, 1970), John Golding wrote of Leger: ‘No other major twentieth-century artist was to react to, and to reflect, such a wide range of artistic currents and movements . . . And yet he was to remain supremely independent as an artistic personality. Never at any moment in his career could he be described as a follower … But his originality lay basically in his ability to adapt the ideas and to a certain extent even the visual discoveries of others to his own ends.’ He saw the poetic value that lies in the clear delineation of everyday objects, the in trinsic beauty of modem machinery and the things which are mass-produced by machinery, and he favoured proletarian subjects, depicting them with the same clarity and precision as the themes taken from machine culture.

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