This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné being prepared by Dominique Bermann-Martin and Jean-François Aittouares.
André Lhote's Sur les fortifs depicts a leisurely afternoon at the park. Four couples sit on the grass, alternating the bright colours of their festive dresses against the cloudy sky. A governess is entertaining a young boy, wearing a sailor's bib, while a gentlemen is sitting next to them. Just behind them, an older man with prominent belly and walking stick is resting on the grass, under the watchful eye of a lady in checkered skirt and elaborated hat. On the right, two girls are smoking, while on the left a lady is facing a man in a straw hat. Avoiding multiple-perspective distortions, Lhote used colours and tones to give form to his subjects while affirming the flat nature of the surface.
Influenced in his youth by the art of Paul Gauguin and Paul Cézanne, Lhote exhibited with the Cubist group at the controversial 1911 Salon des Indépendants and at the much debated 1912 Salon d'Automne. Painted just the year after, Sur les fortifs confirms the artist's commitment to the newly discovered artistic language, despite the criticisms of the time. In the 1920s, once art critics started to perceive Picasso and Braque's 'pure' synthetic Cubism as an inevitable, but unsustainable step in the development of art, Lhote came to be regarded as one of the leading exponents of analytical Cubism. Sur les fortifs affirms Lhote's position among those French Cubist painters who transformed Picasso and Braque's cerebral discoveries into personal, diversified and surprising new artistic languages.