A small label on the back of Léger’s Sketch for The Acrobats in the Circus (1918) identifies it as having passed through Léonce Rosenberg’s Galerie L’Effort Moderne. Rosenberg acquired the sketch directly from Léger for 200 francs on October 11, 1918, within a month of the work’s completion, and the same year that Rosenberg founded the Galerie L’Effort Moderne at 19, rue de la Baume, Paris. The small painting was included in an early Léger exhibition at the gallery in February 1919.
This label bears the date of the sketch's completion (September 1918) and the stock number assigned to it in the gallery’s inventory (no. 5991). Annotated on the partially-torn lower left corner is a corresponding photograph number (no. 5991). A second number (no. 1351) was subsequently added.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Alexandre Rosenberg, a dealer in antiquities who later dealt in Impressionism, Léonce Rosenberg and his brother Paul became two of the most important French dealers in modern art. Léonce Rosenberg’s interests gravitated strongly toward Cubism and later, abstraction. Almost one-quarter of the works in the Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection passed through his gallery at some point.
For more information, see
Mahler, Luise. “Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism: Effort Moderne, Galerie L’.” In Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/research/leonard-lauder-research-center/programs-and-resources/index-of-cubist-art-collectors/effort-moderne (January 2015)
Rosenberg, Léonce, and Fernand Léger. Correspondances, Fernand Léger, Léonce Rosenberg, 1917–1937, ed. Christian Derouet. Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1999.