Overview (Program Summary)
About the Artist:
As an architect, a pioneer of Modernism; as an urbanist and author, a guarantee for sensation; as a designer, the creator of timeless armchairs: Le Corbusier – born in 1887 as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris in Switzerland’s La Chaux-de-Fonds – was a berserk of creative power, fabulously productive, incredibly inventive, in his own lifetime equally idolized and demonized.
He drew his strength and inspiration for this tour de force from his art. It is «the key to my architecture», he repeatedly emphasized. 500 oil paintings – many worth millions –, thousands of drawings and collages, hundreds of prints, and many tapestries, sculptures, and enamel works bear testimony. In these, he developed his formal arsenal, searched for balance of proportion, which he then used as an architect.
Between 1916 – even before his first purist paintings – and 1965, Le Corbusier explored printmaking, picking up on all his central themes, whether the still lifes, the «objets à réaction poétique» or the «Five Points of a New Architecture» which established his fame in the 1920s. His graphic work includes at least 200 prints, most of them hand-signed, printed by the masters of his time.
Le Corbusier approached these prints with great care. In his sense of artist mission, they were always a means of communication. For example, in 1963 he wrote to the lithographer Fernand Mourlot that they are «à disposition des gens intelligents . . . . . et pauvres (!) qui seraient ravis de payer très bon marché un mural de papier à punaiser sur leurs murs» (prints are for good and poor people who would be happy to pay little money for a print to pin on their walls).