LEONOR FINI (1907-1996) Les Tragédiennes / Le Départ / Les Adieux / Reunion de femmes 63 3/4 x 44 7/8 in (Painted circa 1930-1931)

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Lot 11W
LEONOR FINI
(1907-1996)
Les Tragédiennes / Le Départ / Les Adieux / Reunion de femmes

Sold for US$ 87,812 inc. premium

Impressionist & Modern Art

17 Nov 2020, 17:00 EST

New York

LEONOR FINI (1907-1996)
Les Tragédiennes / Le Départ / Les Adieux / Reunion de femmes
signed 'L Fini' (lower right)
oil on panel
63 3/4 x 44 7/8 in
Painted circa 1930-1931

Footnotes

  • This work will be included in the forthcoming Leonor Fini Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings by Richard Overstreet and Neil Zukerman under reference 0367.

    Provenance
    Sale: Sotheby's, London, December 4, 1974, lot 98.
    Sale: Versailles Enchères, Versailles, November 27, 1977, lot 201.
    Boisigirard de Heeckeren, Drout, Paris, December 12, 1979, lot 26.
    Galerie Minsky, Paris.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001.

    Exhibited
    Geneva, Palexpo Geneva, Salon International du livre de la Presse et du Multimedia, April 27 - May 1, 2001.
    New York, CFM Gallery, Leonor Fini Early Works, September 7 - October 7, 2001.
    Trieste, Museo Revoltella, Leonor Fini: L'Italienne de Paris, July 4 - September 29, 2009.
    New York, CFM Gallery, Leonor Fini: Paintings 1931-1987, March 25 - April 24, 2010.

    Literature
    Museo Revoltella, Leonor Fini: L'Italienne de Paris, exh. cat., Trieste, 2009, plate 2 (illustrated).
    CFM Gallery, Leonor Fini: Paintings 1931-1987, exh. cat., New York, 2010, p. 4 (illustrated).
    L. Downes, 'Fini and Dali: Sacred and Profane Monsters Wedded in Spirit,' in Gallery & Studio: The World of the Working Artist, vol. 4, no. 1, New York, September-October 2001 (illustrated on the cover).
    P. Webb, Leonor Fini: Métamorphoses d'un art, Arles, 2007 (illustrated).
    P. Webb, Sphinx: The Life and Art of Leonor Fini, New York, 2009 (illustrated).

    The present lot (circa 1930-1931) by Leonor Fini is ascribed a multitude of expressive titles; it has been known variously as Les Tragédiennes, Le Départ, Les Adieux, and Reunion de femmes. The abstruse, oneiric quality of the mysterious tableau elicits a host of responses and interpretations and makes this work so deeply compelling.

    The general style of the grandly proportioned painting tessellates with the inter-war neo-classical movement broadly embraced by artists from Pablo Picasso to Jean Metzinger. Fini did not consider herself a surrealist but much of her oeuvre aligns with the tenets and sensibilities of the surrealist lens, and she was closely associated with the surrealist movement, developing significant relationships with Paul Éluard, Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Max Ernst. Indeed, introductions to her exhibition catalogues were written by Ernst, Giorgio De Chirico, and Jean Cocteau. Fini's artistic drive was influenced by major contemporaneous avant-garde movements but is emphatically defined by her unique, personal vision and intense interest in gender power dynamics.

    The oil on panel painting depicts a dramatic assembly of six women, rendered in a cohesive palette of pastel, muted tones: lavender, mauve, ochre, and pale blue. On the left of the composition, a stoic figure is seated on a rock in a costume resembling a ballerina's; on the right, a pallid, spectral character turns away from the rest of the group, weeping inconsolably into her palms. A quartet of women cluster in the center; one figure stands back anxiously clasping her hands, but the two primary focal points are related to the woman who appears to be departing – she is kissed on the cheek by one, shakes hands with another.

    It is uncertain what exactly is transpiring amongst this melancholic gathering. Does the action of the scene allude to history or mythology? Is this an excerpt from a theatrical stage performance, or even derived from an enigmatic dream the artist may have had? It is possible that Fini is obliquely referencing the biblical event of Judas betraying Jesus, identifying Christ by kissing him upon the cheek. She evokes the portentous mood of this established passage but boldly subverts the traditional narrative with an all-female cast.
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