FERNAND LÉGER 1881-1955
Argentan 1881-1955 Paris, Gif-sur-Yvette (French)
Title: Pleasant Thought for the Morning | Bonne Pensée du Matin, from: Les Illuminations, 1948
Technique: Original Hand Signed and Dated Watercolour and Ink Drawing on Wove Paper
Paper size: 49 x 38.5 cm. / 19.3 x 15.2 in.
Image size: 44.5 x 36.5 cm. / 17.5 x 14.4 in.
Additional Information: This original watercolour and ink drawing was realised by Léger in 1948.
It is signed and dated by the artist at the lower right part.
This drawing was prepared as a study for a lithograph to be included in Rimbauds, Les Illuminations (published in 1949).
However the scale of the work was deemed too large for inclusion for inclusion and so a smaller subject was prepared
This work is accompanied by an affidavit signed by Irus Hansma on 19th November 2001, which states:
“Fernand Léger – Bonne pensée du matin – 1948 Aquarelle, gouache et l’encre de chine sur papier. Signé, date du monogramme F.L.48 49 x38,5 cm. au dos Justification de l’éditeur Grosclaude ‘gouache originale de Fernand Leger , exécutée par l’artiste pour les illuminations de Rimbaud en 1948 – Refusée parceque, le format trop grand”
Note: The publisher approached Fernand Léger on 28th January 1948 with a proposal to illustrate a collection of poetry by the renowned French poet, Arthur Rimbaud. The selected anthology was entitled Les Illuminations.
This drawing was prepared as a study for a lithograph to be included in Rimbaud’s, Les Illuminations (published in 1949).
However the scale of the work was deemed too large for inclusion and so a smaller subject was prepared.
The original poem by Arthur Rimbaud was written in 1872 and Leger has approached the subject in typical style.
The lithograph bears a similar composition to the preparatory drawing with minor alterations.
The original poem is:
À quatre heures du matin, l’été, | At four o’clock on a summer morning,
Le Sommeil d’amour dure encore. | The Sleep of love still lasts.
Sous les bosquets l’aube évapore | Under the spinneys the dawn disperses scents
L’odeur du soir fêté. | Of the festive night.
Mais là-bas dans l’immense chantier | But down there in the huge workshop
Vers le soleil des Hespérides, | Near the Hesperidean sun,
En bras de chemise, les charpentiers | The carpenters in their shirtsleeves
Déjà s’agitent. | Are already astir.
Dans leur désert de mousse, tranquilles, | Peaceful in the midst of their wilderness of foam,
Ils préparent les lambris précieux | They are preparing the costly canopies
Où la richesse de la ville | Where the riches of the city
Rira sous de faux cieux. | Will smile beneath painted skies.
Ah ! pour ces Ouvriers charmants | Ah! for these charming Labourer’s sakes
Sujets d’un roi de Babylone, | Subjects of a king of Babylon,
Vénus ! laisse un peu les Amants, | Venus! leave Lovers for a little while,
Dont l’âme est en couronne. | Whose souls are wearing crowns.
O Reine des Bergers ! | O Queen of the Sheperds!
Porte aux travailleurs l’eau-de-vie, | Take strong liquor to the workers,
Pour que leur forces soient en paix | So that their strength may be calmed
En attendant le bain dans la mer, à midi. | Until the sea-bathe at noon.
Mai 1872 | May 1872
Condition: In Excellent Condition. The colours strong.