Minneapolis Institute of Arts folder on Léger
It is fitting that the French Cubist identified with the dynamic shapes of machinery (cylinders,
cogged wheels, pistons and their metallic surfaces) would be selected to design a doorknob and escutcheon
for the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company in America. The enterprising firm commissioned a dozen architects
and artists (the list included architect, Philip Johnson and artists, Theodore Roszak and Ibran Lassaw) to execute
designs for doorknobs, and drawer pulls, some in collaboration with the Corning Glass Works.
Léger was an early advocate of machine technology and its promising implications, he became a staunch supporter
for uniting art and industry often citing manufactured objects as better than paintings, “Nowadays,a work of art must
bear comparison with any manufactured object” goading himself and his contemporaries to rise to the excellence
of industry. This doorknob and matching escutcheon was a prototype, one of eight he designed for the company,
but it was never put into production. In fact, none of the 85 works commissioned, were ever realized.
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF DOROTHY BERENSON BLAU
1881 - 1955
DOORKNOB AND ESCUTCHEON
Painted and glazed ceramic
Height: 11 1/8 in.
Executed circa 1955-1956 (according to a label on the reverse).
Hokin Gallery, Inc., Palm Beach
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, December 18, 1985, lot 99
Acquired at the above Palm Beach Gallery as a gift to art dealer Dorothy Berenson Blau, Miami, Florida.
New York, Wildenstein & Co., New Forms in Door Ornamentation, 1956
Minneapolis Institute of Arts files