Fernand Leger, Les Acrobates (The Acrobats), 1954
Signed Fernand Leger Terracota low relief ceramic plaque; clay with black, red and white enamel, Les Acrobates (The Acrobats), 1954
|Artist:||Fernand Leger (1881 - 1955)|
|Title:||Les Acrobates (The Acrobats), 1954|
|Medium:||Terracota low relief ceramic plaque; clay with black, red and white enamel|
|Image Size:||DIMENSIONS: 19 5/8 in x 17 11/16 in x 2 1/2 in (50 cm x 45 cm x 6.5 cm)|
|Edition:||Numbered from the edition of 250 on the underside.|
|Signature:||This work is initialed ‘F.L.’ by Fernand Léger (Argentan, 1881- Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) in black in the lower right.|
|Condition:||This work is in excellent condition.|
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Historical Description of this artwork
Fernand Leger Les Acrobates (The Acrobats), 1954 is a work of pure artistry in the ceramic medium. Leger’s sculptural ceramic works are considered the highest point of his Cubist practice. From the distorted proportions to the flattened perspective, each quality typical of Cubism is enhanced as a sculptural work. Leger began creating enameled terracotta low reliefs based on the patterns of paintings he had created prior to 1950. Most of his ceramic works even share the same motifs as his paintings.
According to Y. Brunhammer (2005), “Roland Brice reproduced the motifs in relief in soft clay, A mould was cast from this relief to produce several plaques, which were then enameled in different colors. On each plaque, Leger would vary the forms and relief, sometimes using black outlines, or change the colour of the enamel. This technique enabled him to produce several compositions with different colours wich stood out strongly against the white enamel coating the red terracotta (132).”
In this ceramic work, three figures intertwine playfully indifferent formations. Their limbs are long and winding, creating a cartoonish depiction of three acrobats performing a trick. The background is a vibrant red which contrasts beautifully with the white colored figures. The figures are outlined in black, creating a multidimensional effect. It appears as if the characters are floating towards us.
Created in 1954, this terracota low relief ceramic plaque; clay with black, red and white enamel is initialed ‘F.L.’ by Fernand Léger (Argentan, 1881- Gif-sur-Yvette, 1955) in black in the lower right. Numbered from the edition of 250 on the reverse. .
Catalogue Raisonné & COA:
Fernand Leger The Acrobats (Les Acrobates), 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. 145. Further discussion on pgs. 132 & 140.
2. A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany this work.
What Do I Get With My Purchase?
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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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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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.