The human figure returns into Léger's art. From 1920 he designs a painting that would have to be monumental on the intimate theme of the breakfast of three naked women. The line will have to be new, color will come next. A 73 x 92 cm oil on canvas painted in grisaille in 1920-1921 was sold for $ 4.8M including premium by Christie's on November 1, 2005.
The artist also carries out studies of the individual characters. A 65 x 50 cm oil on canvas titled La Tasse de Thé was sold for $ 8.1M including premium by Christie's on November 3, 2010. The final 92 x 65 cm version of this sub-theme was sold for € 11.5M including premium by Christie's and Pierre Bergé on February 23, 2009.
Everything is ready now for a full version with the three women. Titled Le Grand Déjeuner, an ultimate preparatory oil on canvas painted in bright colors in 1921 in format 65 x 92 cm is estimated $ 15M for sale by Christie's in New York on May 15, lot 11 A.
On the simple theme of the idle or quiet life of the new women, Léger has modified all iconographic conventions, in search of a balance between bright colors and forms stylized in thick lines. The anonymity of the figures reduces the narration, the intimate emotion is prevailing. The final version completed in 1922 measures 184 x 252 cm. It is kept at the MoMA.
This work anticipates by two generations and seven decades Roy Lichtenstein's series showing the contemporary woman naked in her daily occupations.
SOLD for $ 19.4M including premium