You have 2 more free articles remaining

Expected to make as much as $2m, the works feature in their Modern and Contemporary art sale on September 30.

Both were exhibited in Chicago back in 1966 as part of a retrospective held by dealers R.S. Johnson – the most comprehensive show of Léger’s work ever held at an American gallery at the time.

One of the pictures is a study for the artist’s Two Women Holding Flowers which is now on display in the Tate Modern in London. Dating from the same year as the larger final picture, it was executed in the last two years of the French artist’s life but stylistically harks back to Leger’s much earlier cubist approach.

It carries an estimate of $800,000-1.2m.

In terms of its relation to the finished work, this smaller 21.5in x 2ft 2in (55 x 65cm) oil on canvas has slight differences such as the appearance of a necklace on the right-hand figure and the colouring of the leaves on the branches to the centre. The position of the colour blocks is near identical although the tones here are more pronounced.

The second Léger at the Chicago auction is a smaller and much earlier work but demonstrates how the artist was experimenting with a Cubist approach to landscape painting at this stage of his career. Paysage Village, a gouache on paper board from 1914, measures 12.5 x 16in (32 x 41cm) and carries an estimate of $600,000-800,000.

Among the other Cubists lots at the sale is Nature morte au vin de madre by Jean Metzinger (1883-1956). Dating from 1915, the oil on canvas is estimated at $400,000-600,000, while a slightly later but very different work by the artist from 1923 entitled La jejune femme pensive aux roses rouges (Dame assie aux roses rouges) is estimated at $100,000-150,000. 

A piece of German Expressionism at the auction is Max Beckmann’s (1884-1950) The Bathers, a small oil on canvas from 1938 executed when the artist was in exile in The Netherlands. It is offered at $300,000-500,000.