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Interview of Jean du Jean du Chatenet, owner of the Fernand Léger Museum-Farm

Fernand Léger - Still Life with Glass, 1924, Watercolour and pencil

This week, discover a special Fernard Léger object of the week, with the testimonial of Jean du Chatenet, collector and expert on the artist.

An art dealer since 1981, Jean du Chatenet is an expert within the Léger Committee which he created with the rights-holders of Fernard Léger. For the European Heritage Days of the 21th and 22st of September, he is opening the Fernard Léger farm-museum which he has become the owner of since 2007.

 

 

A complete work of art

Fernand Léger inherited from the Bougonnière farm at Lisores upon the death of his mother in 1922. In this charming house, he painted in the morning and hosted his friends in the evening, amongst them Le Corbusier, Blaise Cendrars, Brancusi or Jean Cocteau. The painter lived there very regularly up until his death in 1955. A rural artist fascinated by modernity, the farm shows his love of contrast and colour. He was furiously inspired by it : from foilage and flint to holly leaves, all becomes a source of inspiration and a model for the painter. An eternal rival of Picasso, Fernand Léger taught painting in Paris where he had workshops installed for the students. There he met Nadia Khodossievitch who became his second wife.

12th September 1970, Nadia Léger opens the farm-museum in the presence of numerous major cultural figures. It is active till 1997 and receives up to 3000 visitors annually. Eventually closed and abandoned, it is only in 2007 that Jean du Chatenet would give it a new life.

 

A farm-museum or nothing !

« I was like a musician buying Mozart’s appartment. The evening I got the keys, I immediately understood that we had to redo it as it was, » confides Jean du Chatenet.

First simply destined to be his own country house, the collector quickly felt committed to a mission, and restored all the rooms to their original condition : from the kitchen refurbished by Le Corbusier, to the rooms, through to the chapel. Immense construction works which took a decade and undertaken in an artisanal way to preserve the space’s authenticity.

The farmer and her cow, the impressive mosaic which resides on a wall of the barn, was restored in 1980. In 2018, he consecrated the chapel and commissioned the restoration of the four missing stained glass windows which would be crafted by a master glassmaker based on old photographs.

The space is making its comeback with the European Heritage Days and will present works on paper from the Cubist master, as well as works from his spouse Nadia Léger who recently benefited from an exhibition at  Artcurial as well as a book, « Nadia Léger, the extraordinary story of a woman in the shadows » written by Aymar du Chatenet, the collector’s cousin.

Increasingly, Jean du Chatenet wishes to open the space to the greatest number of people to

make them discover the incredible legacy of the painter and his wife. He also has the aim to create links with the Fernand Léger - André Mare d’Argentans museum. This museum, which was once the painter’s chilhood home, has just opened its doors in July 2019.

 

Le coup de cœur du collectionneur

Jean du Chatenet has appreciated the work of Fernard Léger on sale on Plazzart. Still life with glass is a drawing by the artist created in 1924 in watercolour and pencil. This drawing comes from the Curt Valentin Gallery. Curt Valentin was a Jewish German art dealer specialised in modern art. His gallery in New York was active from 1937 to 1955.

 

Fernand Léger (1881-1955)

Still Life with Glass, 1924, Watercolour and pencil

He confides in us that is a rare work with great quality in its execution. Indeed, there are very few drawings of the artist produced during this period and therefore very little circulating on the market. The graphic symmetry and the intellectual research in the composition make it a work with a great purity.

 

Practical information:

European Heritage Days

21th and 22st of September

Ferme de La Bougonnière
14140 Lisores, Basse-Normandie, France

Discover this exceptional signed work by Fernand Léger