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  • Executed in 1920, La Roue (Projet d'affiche pour La Roue D'Abel Gance) typifies the iconic machine aesthetic that was so unique to Fernand Léger’s works in the years following World War I. Inspired by the immense and formidable power of war machines, as well as the rapid modernization of the post-war urban landscape, Léger’s Mechanical Elements series is among his most celebrated bodies of work. La Roue, with its late-Cubist formalism and bold coloration, typifies the idiosyncratic visual idiom of this seminal series for the artist. The text here refers to a film by the same name directed by the groundbreaking French filmmaker Abel Gance which was released in 1923. Gance’s film contained extended close-ups of machines in motion – a cinematic answer to the machine-inspired figures and elements in Léger’s paintings from the same period. It was thus a natural collaboration between the two artists when Gance asked Léger to create a series of posters for the movie. La Roue provides a rare glimpse into Léger’s post-war, machinist universe.


    Fernand Léger, poster for Abel Gance’s La Roue, 1923.
    Fernand Léger, poster for Abel Gance’s La Roue, 1923.
    • Provenance

      Mira Jacob, Paris
      Collection Mira Jacob Galerie Le Bateau-Lavoir, Sotheby's Paris & Bailly ­Pommery ­Voutier & Associés, September 23, 2004, lot 116
      The Donald Marron Collection, New York (acquired at the above sale)
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2020

    • Exhibited

      Philadelphia Museum of Art, Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis, October 14, 2013–January 5, 2014, no. 86, p. 268 (illustrated, p. 132); then travelled as Venice, Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, Museo Correr, Leger, 1910-1930: La visione della citta contemporanea, February 8–June 2, 2014, no. 25, p. 137 (illustrated, p. 90)
      East Hampton, Pace Gallery, Works on Paper from a Distinguished Private Collection: A co-presentation by Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian, and Pace, August 12–20, 2020

    • Literature

      Jean-Paul Morel, Lever de rideau sur Fernand Léger, Lausanne, 2007, p. 140 (illustrated)


La Roue (Projet d'affiche pour La Roue D'Abel Gance)

signed with the artist's initials and titled "Projet d'affiche pour la roue d'Abel Gance F. L" on the reverse
gouache, watercolor and graphite on paper
16 5/8 x 12 3/8 in. (42.2 x 31.4 cm)
Executed in 1920.

Full Cataloguing

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $277,200

Contact Specialist

John McCord
Head of Day Sale, Morning Session
New York
+1 212 940 1261

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Morning Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021