Archival Labels
Composition (The Typographer)
Fernand Léger
1918–19
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Harrison

A small gold-colored plaque affixed to the back of Léger's Composition (The Typographer) (1918–19) identifies Mr. and Mrs. Wallace K. Harrison as the owners of the painting. (A detail of the work's back appears at left.) The label was probably produced for the major Léger exhibition of 1953–54 that originated at the Art Institute of Chicago and traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Harrisons loaned the painting to MoMA again the following summer (1955) for a display of works from private collections. Harrison (1895–1981), a successful architect who helped design and build New York City's Rockefeller Center (1929–39), served as a trustee of MoMA from 1939 until 1968.

During the war years, from 1942 to 1945, Léger spent an extended period at the Harrisons' home in West Hills, Long Island. He painted The Divers, a 33-foot-long mural comprised of six canvases, for their curved living room wall (1942; Museum Ludwig, Cologne) and created a composition for the bottom of their swimming pool. In 1974, the Harrisons sold both their West Hills house and Léger's Composition (The Typographer) to their friend, the art collector and dealer Harold Diamond.

For more information, see:

Newhouse, Victoria. Wallace K. Harrison, Architect. New York: Rizzoli, 1989.

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