© ADAGP, Paris 2011 © cliché RMN Gérard Blot
Still life, 1930
Oil on canvas
146 x 97 cm
Donated by Paul Rosenberg,
On deposit from the National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. AM 2650 P
This still life is a revealing example of Léger’s art, which tends towards a realism of design that the artist opposed to that visual realism linked to imitation and illusionism. Combining objects apprehended fragment by fragment, the painter redefines the rules of perspective, splitting the picture into two in order to set up contrasting relationships of shapes and colours on either side. He suggests the idea of a bust and of a pipe bowl, and, to create an illusion of volume, the keys seem to be passing through an orange shape of feminine curvaceousness. The confrontation of such heterogeneous components is provided with high plastic intensity. But the rigidity of the successive plans is attenuated by the sinuous movement of the ribbons and the ambiguous suppleness of the shapes, which are open to a whole range of interpretations.
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