New York readies major Le Corbusier show

Saturday June 08, 2013
Reference from
The ATMA House in Ahmedabad designed by celebrated architect Le Corbusier

The ATMA House in Ahmedabad designed by celebrated architect Le Corbusier

NEARLY half a century after his death, New York’s Museum of Modern Art will pay homage to celebrated French architect and designer Le Corbusier in a major exhibit that opens next week.

 

The extensive show will focus on the way Le Corbusier viewed and observed different landscapes throughout his career, featuring his early watercolors and models of his large-scale projects.

 

In total, around 320 paintings, drawings, models, photographs, plans and sketches will go on display at the prestigious midtown Manhattan institution.

 

Jean-Louis Cohen, a professor of architecture at New York University who is one of two curators, said the show - which cost close to a million dollars to put together - would provide rarely-seen insight into Le Corbusier’s view of landscapes.

 

“This is work that deserves to be rediscovered for its poetic and artistic qualities,” Cohen told reporters.

 

Arranged chronologically, the exhibit takes into account the global influences on Le Corbusier, who was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris on October 6, 1887. It references time he spent in Paris, Italy, Austria, Germany, Greece, Istanbul, Algeria, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow and India.

 

The works on view include four interiors built specifically for the show, such as Le Corbusier’s cabin in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the south of France and a room from the “Maison Blanche” (“White House”) he built for his parents in his hometown of La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.

 

These reconstructions enable visitors to grasp the evolution - but also the persistence - of the ‘greatest architect of the 20th century,” Cohen said.

 

But some of his 400 projects - several models of which will go on view - never saw the light of day, frustrating Le Corbusier.

 

In total, Le Corbusier built some 75 constructions in a dozen countries before passing away on August 27, 1965. He became a naturalized French citizen in 1930.

 

Le Corbusier’s relationship with the US and MoMA in particular was marked for years by misunderstanding and “much acrimony on Le Corbusier’s behalf,” Cohen noted.

 

 

“He wanted to control everything,” Cohen said as he recalled how a plan to showcase his work in a major exhibition at MoMA in the early 1950s was abandoned after three years of negotiations.

 

This show includes MoMA’s own collection, as well as loans from the Paris-based Le Corbusier Foundation.

 

“Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes” will be on view at MoMA from June 15 to September 23 before moving on to Barcelona and Madrid next year.

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