About The Artist
The Swiss-French architect, designer and urban planner Le Corbusier (1887–1965) is one of the defining figures of 20th century design. Both radical in thought and prolific in output, Le Corbusier created paintings, furniture, buildings and city streets across the world. His work had a lasting impact on the future of architecture and design.
Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Corbusier followed in his father’s footsteps and trained as an engraver of watch faces. There he learned about art history from a teacher who decided that the young Jeanneret should become an architect. Thereafter, Corbusier traveled Europe, viewing the Greek and Palladian architecture that were to become formative influences on his later work. On his return 1917, he moved to Paris where an encounter with French artist Amédée Ozenfant introduced the young architect to the stripped-back forms of ‘Purist’ painting. Together they founded a review L’Esprit Nouveau, which was to give voice to many of Corbusier’s early theories about architecture and urbanism, most famously: “A house is a machine for living in.”
Corbusier’s writings and unpublished projects brought him great fame and, eventually, the opportunity to realize projects around the world. Like other proponents of The International Style, as it was then termed, such as Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and others from the Bauhaus school, Corbusier advocated the use of new materials, flat roofs, bare facades and forms which expressed the building’s function. Much of his work was influenced by the theories of figures like Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos who advocated the stripping of ornament from architecture. His signature buildings include the Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles (1952), a modernist multi-story concrete slab, and a late, highly expressive Notre-Dame-du-Haut chapel at Ronchamp (1950-1955).
The streamlined forms and experimental materials of continental modernism were expressed unequivocally in Corbusier’s furniture designs, which encompassed several iconic chair designs, room dividers and cabinets. Throughout his career, Corbusier maintained his artistic practice, often arriving into his architectural office in the afternoons after a morning spent making paintings.
His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions worldwide including "Le Corbusier: Landscapes for the Machine Age," Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013) and "Le Corbusier: The Art of Architecture," Barbican Art Gallery, London (2009).
Choay, F., “Le Corbusier”. Encyclopedia Brittanica. Web. October 30, 2016.