• Impressionist/Modern Day Sale auction at Christies

    Sale 7833

    Impressionist/Modern Day Sale

    3 February 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 507

    After a design by Fernand Léger (1881-1955)

    Femme à l'oiseau sur fond rouge

    Price Realised  


    After a design by Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
    Femme à l'oiseau sur fond rouge
    with the signature 'F LEGER' (lower right)
    tile and stone mosaic set in a steel frame
    77 x 52 x 2 in. (196.2 x 134 x 5 cm.)
    Conceived circa 1952

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    In 1949 Père Couturier, a Dominican teacher and artist, commissioned Léger, Braque, Matisse, Chagall, Lipchitz and others to assist in the decoration of the new church of Assy in the South of France. Léger produced a mosaic for the church, which was consecrated in 1950 to mixed reactions and much controversy. It was in Biot in the atelier of his former pupil Roland Brice that Léger began to experiment with decorative ceramic, animating walls with colour and his familiar visual vocabulary. In the 1950s architectural commissions became more and more frequent and Léger worked on, amongst other projects, the crypt of the American Memorial in Bastogne in Belgium, the church of Courfaivre in Switzerland, the United Nations building, the University of Caracas and the hospital in Saint-Lô. Inspired by a composition that first appears in Léger's oeuvre in 1951 (B. 1417) and directly based on a 1952 oil of the same title, the present mosaic decorated one of the walls of the artist's house near Lisores, which he had inherited from his mother in 1922.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    The artist's estate, and thence by descent.
    Acquired from the above; sale, Christie's, London, 8 February 2005, lot 352.
    Private collection, London, by whom acquired at the above sale, and thence by descent to the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text