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Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 5,000
LÉON HARTL (1889-1973)
Still Life with Grapes and Glass Bowl. Oil on canvas. 405x515 mm; 16x20 1/4 inches. Signed and dated in oil, upper right recto. Signed, dated and annotated "Noir brisé sur Blanc" in oil, verso (obscured by restoration). 1921.
Published: Zabriskie Gallery, Zabriskie Fifty Years, 2004, page 82 (illustrated).
Hartl, born in Paris and trained as a master dyer, was admired by fellow artists for his untrained innate talent and sense of color. The artist Fairfield Porter (1907-1975) wrote admiringly of his career and technique in Art News in 1953, noting that Hartl drew directly with paint and never added medium to his pigments, only using turpentine for erasing. He told Porter, "Art is a feeling of things, not a description of them. When you are young you are sensual, later your exaltation is more spiritual."
When Hartl came to the United States in 1912, he turned to painting to assuage his homesickness. At first, he painted French flowers and birds from memory. Even his mature work was autobiographical of either his life in France or New York. Hartl used real-life references to inform his color choices (an apple and fallen leaves for a landscape scene) and usually worked on multiple paintings at once. Though his career spanned the Abstract movement in the United States, Hartl remained steadfast with representative art. In 1920, he exhibited in group shows at the New Gallery alongside Ernest Fiene (1894-1965), Arnold Friedman (1879-1946, see lots 77-81), Joseph Stella (1877-1946, see lots 44-50 ) and Carl Sprinchorn (1877-1971, see lot 38). He was represented by Juliana Force of the Whitney Studio Galleries (formerly Whitney Studio Club) from its formation in 1928 through its metamorphosis into the Whitney Museum in 1931. Hartl had numerous solo exhibitions in New York, with one at Zabriskie Gallery in 1967.