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Sotheby's NY to auction Leger painting owned by Madonna, to benefit the Ray of Light Foundation
Fernand Léger, Trois femmes à la table rouge (detail). Estimate $5/7 million. Photo: Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced that it will auction a painting from the collection of legendary entertainer Madonna in its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 7 May 2013. Proceeds from the sale of Fernand Léger’s Trois femmes à la table rouge, which is estimated at $5/7 million, will benefit the Ray of Light Foundation to support girls’ education projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. In Afghanistan, just 12% of women are literate and it is estimated that only seven girls to every ten boys are able to attend school. In Pakistan, which has one of the largest populations of out-of-school children in the world, it is estimated that there are more than 3 million primary school-aged girls unable to attend school.

“I have a great passion for art and a great passion for education. In conjunction with Sotheby’s, I would like to share these two passions. I have chosen to auction this painting called “Three Women” by Fernand Léger and donate all the proceeds to support girls’ educational projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries where female education is rare or nonexistent. I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools. We don’t have time to be complacent. I want to trade something valuable for something invaluable – Educating Girls! Knowledge is power. Let’s change the world!” commented Madonna.

The painting comes to auction for the first time in more than two decades, having remained in Madonna’s collection since she acquired it at a Sotheby’s New York sale in 1990. The work will be on view at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 3 --- 7 April and in London from 12 --- 16 April, before returning to New York for exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 3 May.

Fernand Léger painted Trois femmes à la table rouge in 1921, at the height of his iconic Mechanical Elements series. The work belongs to a series depicting three women with still-life components, which the artist began in 1920. Over the subsequent two years, Léger’s rendering of his female subjects became increasingly abstracted, and the present example signifies the climax of this transformation. Trois femmes à la table rouge represents a unique Cubist moment for the artist, with its emphasis on strong colors and purified geometries. Other examples from this series are currently in institutions including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland.

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