Fernand Leger Study for Tate’s Two Women Holding Flowers  

Fernand Leger Study for Tate’s Two Women Holding Flowers

Fernand Leger Study for the Tate's Deux Femmes Tenant Des Fleurs to Be Offered at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ September 30 Modern and Contemporary Art auction will offer a Fernand Leger painting titled Deux femmes tenant des fleurs. It was painted in 1954 as a completed study to the larger final work that hangs in the Tate Modern and was painted in the same year.


Two years prior to its sale, the smaller painting was featured in R.S. Johnson International Galleries’ Fernand Leger retrospective exhibition during November and December of 1966 in Chicago. The show was the most comprehensive Leger exhibition presented by an American art gallery at the time. An important inclusion as a late career work, Deux femmes tenant des fleurs harkens back to Leger’s earlier cubist approach while emphasizing the figure.

The abstracted bands of primary color contrast the stark stylized female nudes in grayscale. The smaller painting varies only slightly in details such as the placement of a necklace on one of the figures and the shape of the natural branches at the center of the painting. The colors are less saturated while the placement of the color blocks is near identical. It has a presale estimate of $800,000 – 1,200,000.


Also appearing in the 1966 retrospective exhibition in Chicago was an earlier cubist work from 1914 titled Paysage Village, which will also be included in the sale. Showcasing Leger’s personal vocabulary on cubism, as applied to the landscape, the gouache will be offered with a presale estimate of $600,000 – 800,000.

The September 30 Modern and Contemporary Art auction will offer a number of additional highlights from the early 20th century. A Max Beckmann painting titled Bathers from 1938 will be offered with a presale estimate of $300,000 – 500,000. Painted while the artist was in self-imposed exile in the Netherlands, Bathers is typical of the emotionally charged figuration that earned the German Expressionist Degenerate Art status in his homeland.


Jean Metzinger’s Nature morte au vin de madre from 1915 is another strong cubist example being offered with a presale estimate of $400,000 – 600,000. Also available is the artist’s 1923 work titled La jejune femme pensive aux roses rouges (Dame assie aux roses rouges), a stylized portrait illustrating the artist’s range of technique, which has a presale estimate of $100,000 – 150,000.


Contemporary works such as Bob Thompson’s Landscape with Blue Nude, 1965, is another highlight of the sale. It is quintessential of Thompson’s allegorical painting and references classical painting composition while employing abstract expressionist influenced color, gesture and texture in an unusually large format. It carries an estimate of $80,000 – 120,000.


Saul’s Guernica, 1974, by Peter Saul is a fluorescence psychedelic interpretation of Picasso’s famed anti-war painting, an art historical riff reflecting Saul’s social commentary in objection to the Vietnam War. Its large scale and vibrant colors showcase Saul’s melting cartoon imagery and surrealist funk approach to painting. It will be offered at $250,000 – 350,000.


A 1996-97 Ralph Goings photorealist canvas titled Double Ketchup will be offered with an estimate of $400,000 – 600,000. Quintessential of the artist’s diner condiment works, this example as the title would indicate, features not one but two bottles of ketchup in masterful detail.


Other artists represented are Lee Krasner, Alexander Calder, Theodoros Stamos, Amy Sillman, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Sally Mann, Gabrielle Muenter, Ernst Barlach, Alejandro Obregon and Burhan Dogancay, to name a few. In addition to paintings the sale will offer sculpture, photography and works on paper. The preview in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ Chicago saleroom at 1338 West Lake Street will open Sunday, September 25. For more information or to view the online catalogue

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