Modern France


History of Modern France

The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 7

Zoom lecture



10 November 2021 

Le Corbusier (1887-1965)

The art gallery and sitting room of maison La Roche, Paris, 1924

Le Corbusier and the New Spirit in Art and Architecture, 1920-1940

with Chris Boïcos


Le Corbusier came to be seen as the most important modern architect and urbanist to emerge in France after the trauma of the First World War. In opposition to the pessimism of his colleagues in the art world of the 1920s, the Dadaists & Surrealists and the conservatism of the French academies, he offered a vision of a bright new future for European civilization.


The cultural and artistic conventions of the society that produced the war were to be swept away. The architecture and design of the new world were to be based on functionality, industrial materials, hygiene and ideal proportions – a universal style to replace classicism, that came to be called the International Modern Style.


In our lecture we will follow Le Corbusier’s early career as artist, theoretician and architect in France, and his collaboration with artists and designers such as Amédée Ozenfant and Charlotte Perriand. We will examine the key buildings that best exemplify his ideals, notably the La Roche house in Paris, the Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau at the 1925 Art Deco exhibition and the celebrated villa Savoye in Poissy, but also examples of his very fine “Purist” paintings of the 1920s.

Le Corbusier, Vertical Guitar, 1920

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