Untitled, study for La Partie de Campagne (The Country Outing)
Gouache and ink on paper
19.2 x 26.8 cm
Donated by Nadia Léger and Georges Bauquier
Fernand Léger National Museum, Biot
This study for La Partie de Campagne is a preliminary drawing for one of the serial works on which Léger concentrated during the final years of his life. The shapes, heavily outlined in black, portray a quartet of characters accompanied by a dog and lounging in a pastoral landscape. Colours superimposed on these darkly shadowed forms bring the static composition to vibrant life. The mechanic on the left bears witness to the simple pleasures enjoyed by a working-class family during the post-war years, while the two women on the right seem to be playing a dual role, both as bathers and acrobats. As is often the case with the artist, themes slip from one series to another, with a nod here to the “Circus” series. The timeless quality and incorporation into a social context characterise Fernand Léger’s dual aspiration at the end of his life: a modern art that everyone could understand and classical scenes worthy of being hung in a museum. In the version belonging to the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris and deposited with the Saint-Etienne Museum of Modern Art, the colour reintegrates each shape, respecting the local tone of the pastoral scene.