E & R Cyzer are pleased to present a loan exhibition of works by Fernand Léger, Joan Miró and Alexander Calder. There is a wide range of paintings and works on paper on show, each one of which has been selected to offer a quintessential example of a particular moment in the artist’s career as well as to juxtapose their early and late styles. These works, which span from the 1920’s to the 1970’s, also give us a rare insight into how these great masters responded to the turbulent political climate caused by both World Wars and the Spanish Civil War.
Illustrating Léger’s works over four decades we offer a chance to see the artist’s creative development from 1920 to 1950. These examples show how he evolved from the boldly Modernist and innovative Constructivist forms of his early paintings in the 1920’s, to his Classical and monumental figurative style, finally arriving at the effortless, organic creations of the last stages of his career. Each painting demonstrates his great passion for bold colours, his confident handling of form, and his unrelenting originality. From these works, it is clear that it was the gleam of a gun during his time at war which inspired Léger to invent his machine-influenced variation of Cubism. He strove to give beauty to the new, mechanical forms which characterised modern society and warfare. A highlight of the exhibition is Léger’s iconic painting ‘Deux Soeurs’ which belonged to Madame Bourdon shortly after he painted it, and was acquired at the famous 1990 Hôtel Drouot sale of her prestigious collection.
In the same way as Léger, Miró was moved by the violent political period of the Spanish Civil war and the outbreak of World War II. We feature several works from this period of the artist’s career which capture his attempt to retain his artistic freedom during a time of great political turmoil. An important work dated January 1937, coinciding with his ‘The Reaper’ and Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, was painted when Miró was forced to move to Paris due to the civil war, where he lived with his art dealer, Pierre Löeb. This painting is dedicated to Löeb’s wife, Sylvia. It captures the struggle which Miró was forced to endure as a result of his constant upheaval, but its lyricism evokes the hope and peace he found in creative expression.
Finally, the paintings presented by Calder in the exhibition date from the early 1940’s. Calder was unable to source the quantity of materials he required for his mobile production due to shortages caused by World War II. The paintings therefore signify Calder’s skilful resourcefulness as the canvas once more became a space where he acted out his experiments with form, shape, colour and line. The resulting works are striking for their simplicity, quirkiness and playful vibrancy.
This is a unique opportunity to view works which have come from fine private collections and may not be seen again as they will return to their owners once this exhibition is over. Each of the paintings have an unusual and impressive provenance which imbues them with a fascinating history. It is therefore a great privilege for E & R Cyzer to bring together some of the most significant paintings of the 20th century.
The gallery will be open from Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm and weekends by appointment. For all enquiries please contact Alison Hill or Diana Kurakina.