Technique: Original chromolithography
Title: Sculptures Polychromes.
Artist: Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
Year of printing: 1959
Printer: Mourlot Freres.
Joseph Fernand Henri Léger (February 4, 1881 – August 17, 1955) was a French painter, sculptor, and filmmaker. In his early works he created a personal form of cubism which he gradually modified into a more figurative, populist style. His boldly simplified treatment of modern subject matter has caused him to be regarded as a forerunner of pop art.
This lithography was printed by the well known French printing-studio Mourlot. One of the most important contribution of the Mourlot Studio was to be the art poster. For the Eugène Delacroix exhibition in 1930, the Daumier exhibition and the Manet exhibition at the French National Museums, Mourlot became the place where posters were prepared and produced as works of art in their own right. Another important feature would be the production of fine art, limited edition lithographs. The first painters to create lithographs at Mourlot were Vlaminck and Utrillo, despite most artists abandoning the one-popular 19th century lithography, during the first part of the 20th century. Lithography, which was invented by Aloys Senefelder at the end of the 18th century, reached fame when it was adopted by artists such as Jules Chéret, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard and Vuillard in the 1880s. Beginning in the 1930s, Fernand Mourlot (the grandson of the founder of Mourlot studios) began inviting a new generation of artists to work directly on lithography stones (in the same manner as one does when creating a poster). This expansion of fine art into the printing realm began a previously non-existent partnership between artist and printer which remains to this day. In 1937, the studio created two posters, one by Bonnard and one by Henri Matisse, for the Maitres de l'Art indépendant exhibition at the Petit Palais. Both artists were so impressed by the posters' excellent quality that Mourlot studio became the leading lithographic printer for fine artwork. That same year, the studio also began a long collaboration with the editor Tériade, who founded the legendary art review "Verve." After the Second World War, Mourlot assisted Matisse, Braque, Bonnard, Rouault and Joan Miró in the creation of important lithographs for the review. In 1945, Pablo Picasso selected the Mourlot studio for his return to the lithographic medium. Set up in a corner of the shop, it would soon become his home for several months at a time. In 1959, Monte Carlo based publisher decided that a catalogue of these posters should be compiled. Although reduced in size, these were still printed by Mourlot, using lithography (and ocassionally some detailing in offset) and therefore considered to be part of the oeuvres of the included artists.
Image size (exc. margins / matting): 21.1 x 15.5 cm.
Overall size (includes matting): 40 x 30 cm.
Skilfully matted using museum-quality cardboard, this will ensure correct preservation and presentation of the print.