Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966)
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Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966)

Verres et bouteilles en bleu

Details
Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966)
Verres et bouteilles en bleu
signed 'Ozenfant' (lower left)
oil on canvas
28 5/8 x 23 1/2 in. (73 x 60 cm.)
Painted in 1926
Provenance
Léonce Rosenberg, Paris, by whom acquired directly from the artist.
Galerie L'Effort Moderne, Paris (no. 8710).
Anonymous sale, Hôtel Rameau, Versailles, 3 December 1967, lot 129.
Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, by 1968.
Private collection, London, by whom acquired from the above on 3 October 1968, and thence by descent.
Literature
Léonce Rosenberg (ed.), Bulletin de L'Effort Moderne, no. 27, Paris, July 1926, p. 16 (illustrated; titled 'Vases dans un intérieur').
R. Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art Other Than Works by British Artists, London, 1981, p. 579.
P. & M. Guénégan, Ame´de´e Ozenfant, 1886-1966, Catalogue raisonne´ de l'oeuvre peint, London, 2012, no. 1926/003, p. 394 (illustrated).
Exhibited
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Restraint is also a Virtue: A Group of 20th Century Paintings, May 1968, no. 26 (illustrated).
London, Roland, Browse & Delbanco, Our Thirty Years in Retrospect, June - July 1977, no. 39 (illustrated).
Saint-Quentin, Musée Antoine Lécuyer, Amédée Ozenfant, October - December 1985, no. 67, p. 103 (illustrated); this exhibition later travelled to Mulhouse, Musée des Beaux-Arts, December 1985 - February 1986, Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, March - May 1986, and Mâcon, Musée des Ursulines, May - July 1986.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Ishbel Gray
Ishbel Gray

Lot Essay

Pierre Guénégan has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work.


As outlined in their seminal work, Après le Cubisme, published in November 1918, Amédée Ozenfant and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (later known as Le Corbusier) called for a return to order in painting following the chaotic early years of the First World War.

Wishing to restore painting to a purer, more classical ideal, they rejected what they saw as the distortions of the avant-garde- particularly those of late Cubism- seeking instead to establish a style that was at once both balanced and structured. Thus, between 1918 and 1926, Ozenfant and Jeanneret ushered in a movement called Purism, which- although thoroughly against the excesses of the avant-garde- was itself exceptionally modern.

Like Cubism, Purism delighted in the machine-made; it is for this reason that as in Verres et bouteilles en bleu, mass-produced objects such as bottles and glasses came to dominate Purist compositions. Indeed, in order to underscore the precision and uniformity of the machine age they so revered, both artist's presented objects with smooth, unbroken brushwork, removing, insofar as possible, all traces of their hand. This, alongside a negation of volume suggested by shadow, helped to convey a sense of order, balance, and flatness.

As in the companion piece at the Tate, in Verres et bouteilles en bleu, Ozenfant took great care to balance the structure of his composition. For this reason, the artist divided the picture plane into a cohesive series of overlapping rectangles arranged along a central vertical axis. This, alongside a rhythmic palette of repeated pastel blues and greys- Ozenfant's preferred colours at the time-helped to convey a peaceful sense of harmony.

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