Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Three Women by a Garden

Artist:
Fernand Léger (French, Argentan 1881–1955 Gif-sur-Yvette)
Date:
1922
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
25 1/2 x 36 in. (64.8 x 91.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, in honor of William S. Lieberman, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.125.1
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 913
Three generations are represented in this family portrait: grandmother, mother, and daughter. Placed between a domestic setting and an unidentifiable landscape, the three women exhibit neither individual features nor a sense of humanity. The impersonal tenor of this portrait mirrors Léger's fascination with the technological advancements of the Machine Age.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): F. LEGER/ 22; signed, dated, and inscribed (verso): Personnages dans un jardin/ LEGER / 22
[Galerie Simon, Paris, by 1925–26; sold in spring 1926 to Dreier]; Katherine S. Dreier, New York and Connecticut (1926–d.1952; her bequest to American University); American University, Washington (1953–61; sold in 1961 to Emil); Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, New York (1961–87; their bequest to MMA)

New York. Anderson Galleries. "Fernand Léger," November 17–28, 1925, traveled to Berlin and Moscow, no. 9 (as "Personnage [sic] dans un Jardin").

College Art Association circulating exhibition. "8 Modes of Modern Painting," October 22, 1934–May 28, 1935, no. 16 (as "People in a Garden," lent by Miss Katherine S. Dreier, New York).Venues: Julien Levy Galleries, NY; Williams College; Vassar College; Dartmouth College; Sweet Briar College, VA; Cleveland Museum of Art; Florida State College; Detroit Institute of Art.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from New York Private Collections," July 2–September 22, 1946, unnumbered cat. (p. 5; as "People in a Garden," lent by Miss Katherine S. Dreier).

New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "In Memory of Katherine S. Dreier, 1877–1952: Her Own Collection of Modern Art," December 15, 1952–February 1, 1953, no. 45 (as "Personnages dans un jardin").

New York. Chalette. "Fernand Léger: The Figure," April 1965, no. 8 (as "Persons in a Garden," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil).

London. Tate Gallery. "Léger and Purist Paris," November 18, 1970–January 24, 1971, no. 36 (as "Personnages dans le Jardin [Figures in the Garden]," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Alan [sic] Emil, New York).

Paris. Grand Palais. "Fernand Léger," October 1971–January 1972, no. 69 (as "Personnages dans un jardin," lent by M. [sic] and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, New York).

Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," April 10–May 11, 1975, no. 54 (as "People in a Garden," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, New York).

Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," May 28–June 22, 1975, no. 54.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," August 4–September 1, 1975, no. 54.

New York. Acquavella Galleries, Inc. "Fernand Léger: A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the New York Hospital Auxiliary," October 23–December 12, 1987, no. 32 (as "Personnages dans un Jardin [People in a Garden]").

Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Fondation Maeght. "Fernand Léger: Rétrospective," July 2–October 2, 1988, no. 44 (as "Personnages dans un jardin").

Munich. Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. "Fernand Léger," October 25, 1988–January 8, 1989, no. 20 (as "Figuren im Garten [Personnages dans un jardin]").

Milan. Palazzo Reale. "Fernand Léger," November 11, 1989–February 18, 1990, no. 15 (as "Personnages dans un jardin").

Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Fernand Léger," April 9–May 29, 1994, no. 24 (as "Personnage [sic] dans un jardin").

Marugame Genichiro Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art. "Fernand Léger," June 25–July 30, 1994, no. 24.

Nagoya. Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art. "Fernand Léger," August 5–September 11, 1994, no. 24.

Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki. "Fernand Léger," September 17–November 3, 1994, no. 24.

Roslyn Harbor, N. Y. Nassau County Museum of Art. "Town and Country: In Pursuit of Life's Pleasures," May 12–August 11, 1996, unnumbered cat. (p. 67; as "People by a Garden").

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 91).

Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 38.

Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 38.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Max Beckmann—Fernand Léger: Unerwartete Begegnungen," May 21–August 28, 2005, no. 5 (as "Personnages dans un jardin").

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936," October 1, 2010–January 9, 2011, unnumbered cat. (pl. 15; as "Three Women by a Garden [Personnages dans un jardin]").

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. "Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936," February 21–May 15, 2011, unnumbered cat.

Fernand Léger. Letter to Katherine S. Dreier. December 24, 1925 [Dreier Archives, Beinecke Rare Books Building, Yale University, New Haven; published in Christian Derouet, ed. "Chronologie et Bibliographie," in "Fernand Léger," exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1997, p. 315], regrets that he cannot sell this painting to Dreier because it belongs to the Galerie Simon, whose proprietor, Kahnweiler, will not agree to the price offered by Dreier.

"From the Exhibition by Fernand Leger." Art News 24 (November 14, 1925), p. 2, ill., as "Personnage [sic] dans un jardin"; notes that this picture will be shown in Exh. New York 1925.

Guy Eglington. "Miss Dreier Shows Léger's Paintings." Art News 24 (November 21, 1925), p. 2.

Margaretta M. Salinger. "Current Exhibitions." Parnassus 6 (November 1934), p. 34.

Christopher Green in Léger and Purist Paris. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1970, pp. 59, 61, 99, no. 36, ill. p. 66, discusses it as one of the works leading to "Mother and Child" (1922; Kunstmuseum Basel; Bauquier 1992, no. 335).

Michèle Richet with Claude Laugier in Fernand Léger. Exh. cat., Grand Palais. Paris, 1971, p. 14, no. 69, ill. p. 69.

Susana Leval in Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., Sydney Art Gallery of New South Wales. New York, 1975, pp. 238–39, 265, no. 54, ill.

Werner Schmalenbach. Fernand Léger. New York, 1976, fig. 26, calls it "Figures in a Garden".

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, ed. The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné. New Haven, 1984, pp. 400, 772, ill., frontispiece (installation photo of Dreier's home), note that Kahnweiler lent this work to Exh. New York 1925 and sold it to Dreier in spring 1926; state that American University sold it to Emil in 1961.

Sabine Rewald in Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 1986–1987. New York, 1987, pp. 68–69, ill. (color), as "People by a Garden".

Werner Schmalenbach in Fernand Léger. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung. Munich, 1988, unpaginated, no. 20, ill. (color).

Georges Bauquier assisté de Nelly Maillard. Fernand Léger: Catalogue raisonné. Vol. 2, 1920–1924. Paris, 1992, pp. 232–33, no. 332, ill. (color), calls it "Personnages dans un jardin".

Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Watercolours, and Sculpture (Part I). Christie's, London. June 23, 1997, p. 72, under no. 28, mentions it in relation to a similar version (sold, Christie's, New York, November 8, 2006; Bauquier 1992, no. 333) and its pencil study, as well as to two versions of the "Mother and Child" theme (both 1922; private collection and Kunstmuseum Basel; Bauquier 1992, nos. 334, 335).

William S. Lieberman in Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 2002, pp. 91, 95, 167, no. 38, ill. (color), calls it a family portrait of grandmother, mother and child.

Impressionist and Modern Art. Christie's, New York. November 8, 2006, p. 130, under no. 44, fig. 6 (color), suggests that it depicts a woman "symbolically evolving through the three stages of life"; calls it a "more simplified version" of "Three People before a Garden" (Bauquier 1992, no. 333), in which the two right-hand figures appear androgynous.

Kenneth E. Silver. Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936. Exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. New York, 2010, pp. 29, 176, colorpl. 15 and ill. cover (color), cites it as an example of images of happy families prevalent in European art after World War I.

Richard Meyer. "'Big, Middle-Class Modernism'." October 131 (Winter 2010), pp. 112–15, ill. (installation photos), as "People in a Garden".



A similar version of this painting was sold at Christie's, New York, November 8, 2006, no. 44 (Bauquier 1992, no. 333).
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