Exhibitions/ Art Object

The Smoker

Artist:
Fernand Léger (French, Argentan 1881–1955 Gif-sur-Yvette)
Date:
1914
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
39 1/2 x 32 in. (100.3 x 81.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Promised Gift from the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
For Léger, smoke and smokers were symbols of modern industrial life and the working class, with whom he closely identified. The smoker’s face is seen in three-quarter view. His head is turned to the left (the back of it is represented by the elongated half-oval shape at upper center), and his red pipe juts out, with puffs of smoke floating up to the upper left corner. The figure’s massive body is a conglomeration of rotund swirling parts. This is the type of painting that led Parisian critic Guillaume Apollinaire to characterize Léger’s work as “cylindrical painting.”
Inscription: Titled, signed, and dated (verso, upper left): LE FUMEUR / F. LEGER / 14
[Galerie Kahnweiler, Paris, 1914; inv. no. 2201, photo no. 6052; sequestered Kahnweiler stock, December 12, 1914–21; first Kahnweiler sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 13, 1921, no. 58, sold for Fr 1,000, to Helertot]; Helertot (from 1921); Baroness Eva Gebhard Gourgaud, New York (until d. 1959); Eva Gebhard Gourgaud Foundation, Paris (1959–60; the foundation’s sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, March 16, 1960, no. 85, sold for $82,500, to an unidentified bidder from New York); Edward A. Bragaline, New York (in 1963–83; sold in 1983 to Thaw and Acquavella); [E. V. Thaw & Co. Inc., New York, and Acquavella Galleries, New York, 1983–84; sold in January 1984 to Lauder]; Leonard A. Lauder, New York (from 1984)

New York. M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. "Twentieth Century Masters from the Bragaline Collection for the Benefit of the Museum of Early American Folk Arts," November 6–23, 1963, no. 3.

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. 10.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Fernand Léger," February 15–May 12, 1998, extended to June 2, 1998, unnumbered cat. (p. 173).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection," October 20, 2014–February 16, 2015, no. 37.

"Échos de l’Hôtel Drouot. Liste complète des prix atteints aux ventes Uhde et Kahnweiler: Vente Kahnweiler, 13 et 14 June 1921." L’Esprit Nouveau: Revue internationale illustré de l’actualité contemporaine no. 13 (1921), p. 1567, as "Le Fumeur".

"Cubist Léger Work is Sold for $82,500." New York Times (March 17, 1960), p. 22.

Twentieth Century Masters from the Bragaline Collection for the Benefit of the Museum of Early American Folk Arts. Exh. cat., M. Knoedler and Co. New York, 1963, unpaginated, no. 3, ill.

Christopher Green. Léger and the Avant-Garde. New Haven, 1976, pp. 117–18, pl. 74.

Christopher Green in Fernand Léger, 1881–1955. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin. Berlin, 1980, p. 116, ill., as 1915.

Malcolm Gee. Dealers, Critics, and Collectors of Modern Painting: Aspects of the Parisian Art Market Between 1910 and 1930. PhD diss., Courtauld Institute of Art. New York, 1981, appendix F, p. 61, no. 18.

Fernand Léger: A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of the New York Hospital Auxiliary. Exh. cat., Acquavella Galleries, Inc. New York, 1987, p. 76, no. 10, ill. p. 35.

Georges Bauquier assisté de Nelly Maillard. Fernand Léger: Catalogue raisonné. Vol. 1, 1903–1919. Paris, 1990, p. 172, no. 92, ill. p. 173.

Dorothy M. Kosinski, ed. Fernand Léger, 1911–1924: The Rhythm of Modern Life. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. Munich, 1994, p. 21.

Eric Michaud in Fernand Léger, 1911–1924: The Rhythm of Modern Life. Ed. Dorothy M. Kosinski. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. Munich, 1994, p. 58, fig. 2 (French ed., p. 59, fig. 2).

Carolyn Lanchner. Fernand Léger. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1998, ill. p. 173.

Carolyn Lanchner. "The Art and Artistry of Fernand Léger." MoMA 1, no. 1 (March–April 1998), ill. p. 8.

Irus Hansma and Claude Lefebvre du Preÿ. Fernand Léger: Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint. Vol. 10, 1954–1955. Supplément et corrections des volumes précédents. Paris, 2013, p. 142, no. 92, ill. p. 143.

Jennifer Maloney. "The Secret behind Lauder's Gift." Wall Street Journal (May 24, 2013), ill. p. D8.

"Objects Promised to the Museum during the Year 2012–2013." The Metropolitan Museum of Art, One Hundred Forty-third Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013 (2013), p. 46.

Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 226, 233.

Matthew Affron in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 91–92, 96, no. 37, ill. p. 95 (color).

Anna Jozefacka and Luise Mahler in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, pp. 271–72, fig. 37 (reproduced in the June 13–14, 1921, Kahnweiler sequestration sale catalogue, Hôtel Drouot, Paris).

Emily Braun and Leonard A. Lauder in Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. Ed. Emily Braun and Rebecca Rabinow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, p. 9.

"The Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection: A Conversation with Emily Braun and Pepe Karmel." IFAR Journal 16, no. 3 (2015), fig. 14B (color).