Barron’s has a nice description of the Léger “contrastes des formes” work Christie’s has lined up to lead their Impressionist and Modern Evening sale. The whisper number on the un-estimated work is £25m. Léger works had a tough time in the New York sales but Christie’s was able to sell the Kellen Foundation’s example of this series of works for $70m a year and a half ago. So there’s good reason to believe the demand is there for this work. Here’s Barron’s on the picture:
Christie’s will offer a 1913 work by Fernand Léger from the artist’s influential “contrastes des formes,” or “contrasts of forms” series, that has been in private hands, and unseen by the public, since 1974, at its evening auction of impressionist and modern art in London next month.
Femme dans un fauteuil, carrying an estimate in excess of £25 million (US$31.6 million), and the highlight of the auction house’s June 18 sale, is one of five known figurative works in this largely abstract series. The painting doesn’t currently have a guarantee.
Léger’s “contrastes des forms changed the direction of art as we know it,” says Jason Carey, Christie’s head of impressionist and modern art in London. With this series, executed between 1912 and 1914, Léger went beyond the Cubists and Futurists of the time by “completely deconstructing representation,” Carey says.
“He’s portraying modernity in a composition as a concept rather than portraying something,” he says.