Les maisons sous les arbres (The Houses under the Trees)

Fernand Léger1913

Museum Folkwang

Museum Folkwang
Essen, Germany

"Realism in painting is a simultaneous ordering of the three fundamental structuring elements of line, form and color". With these words, Ferdinand Léger defined his painting as an artistic equivalent of a simultaneousness of various impressions of the senses which characterized the industrial age. In the contrast of forms, to which The Houses under the Trees belongs, the artist strictly applied this concept. Black lines form cubic forms, creating an optical impression of light and shadow and thus a spatial effect through an alternation of the colors red, green, blue and occasionally yellow together with a contrasting white. Rectangular forms suggesting houses in the center of the composition are opposite half-circled figures, put together like a spiral, which can be read as trees. A close alternation of these elements creates an illusion of landscape, architecture, light and movement. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, the Cubist’s influential German dealer, bought this work the year it was made. After a compulsory auction of the contents of his gallery at the beginning of the 1920's to pay off French reparation demands, Léger's The Houses under the Trees came into private hands in Paris.


  • Title: Les maisons sous les arbres (The Houses under the Trees)
  • Creator: Fernand Léger
  • Date: 1913
  • Provenance: Acquired in 1959 with the support of the Agnes-und-Eugen-von-Waldthausen-Platzhoff-Museums-Stiftung
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020
  • Medium: Mixed technique or tempera on canvas
  • Höhe: 80.5 cm
  • Collection: Painting, Sculpture, Media Art
  • Breite: 60 cm

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