Fernand Léger

Esquisse pour les plongeurs (fond jaune) (1er état)

Date: 1941

Technique: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 66 x 84 cm

Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Govern de les Illes Balears collection long-term loan

Reg. no.: 585

On display

When the German invasion of France took place, Férnand Léger decided to leave Paris and move to the United States, in October of 1940, after taking care to leave his works in storage in Lisores, Normandy. It was his fourth and final visit to North America, a stay that extended from the six months initially envisaged to five years of exile, during which as well as being invited to give classes at the university, he also received work commissions and exhibited in diverse museums, such as the MoMA in New York, and others. During this period, in 1941 Léger produced Esquisse pour les plongeurs (fond jaune) (1er état),a work from the private collection of Joan Miró. It is the first sketch of a work the final version of which is in the Art Institute of Chicago, a large-format canvas which captures a scene of divers, a theme he commenced in Marseilles in the same year that he moved to the American continent, and one he continued to work on after his return to Paris in 1945. Employing a reduced colour palette, the pictorial composition is constructed on the basis of three fields of colour which flow and highlight verticality, movement, underscored by the play of the bodies that are submerged, intertwined, in the water, schematic figures which possess the black strokes so characteristic of his work.

S.H.

Artist biography