Shocking! Le Corbusier nude!

Le Corbusier painting in the nude. (thecharnelhouse.org)

Le Corbusier painting in the nude. (thecharnelhouse.org)

Pictured at left is founding modernist Le Corbusier in the nude, painting at the home of fellow modern architect Eileen Gray, in the south of France, a house she is said to have designed. (Though some say Corbusier actually designed it.) She called it Villa E-1027. How remarkably tedious a name! What is more shocking (or, really, less shocking, since they’re both modernists) is that while Gray was away he painted on the walls of her house. What chutzpah (even if he designed it)! How like a modernist, yes? She later expressed her objection to his liberties – whether to the look of the painting or that he had painted without her permission I do not know. There is more on this linked from the post on Corbu nude (and his scar) at the blog by Ross Wolfe called The Charnel-House.

It is hardly surprising that Corbusier would mess up Gray’s house since he had no compunction about messing up the world. Or, to be more specific, messing up every part of the world upon which he had the honor of inflicting his architecture. And his influence has resulted in vertical barracks for the poor in America. Bad, bad Corbu!

No doubt Gray could have painted over Corbu’s frescos, but Paris could not have painted over the demolition of the Marais district if it had take place, or the hideous things he intended for it. Luckily for Paris (and the world), France declined to invite him to wreck the City of Light.

By his lights, one would think, at least he thought he was doing something good. But does that absolve him? Hitler thought as much, and no one says his evil ideas of right and wrong absolve him, however deeply felt (and remember, he went to jail for them.)

I have put Wolfe’s blog The Charnel-House (what Corbusier called the world) on my “Blogs I follow.” He has an interesting mind, and his interest in what he calls “classical modernism” may certainly be forgiven. If he is an honest thinker, what we learn through his interest will be valuable, whether we agree with it or not, whether we like it or not.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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5 Responses to Shocking! Le Corbusier nude!

  1. Pingback: NB: Corbu’s Villa d’Orgie | Architecture Here and There

  2. Roy Lewis says:

    Corb was staying at Eileen Grey’s house recuperating from a severe injury to his leg resulting from a close encounter with a yacht propeller while swimming in the Mediterranean—hence the large scar on his right thigh—when he painted on her walls without permission. She was not pleased.

    Like

  3. Pingback: “No tears for tankies” | Architecture Here and There

  4. Pingback: David Andreozzi’s report | Architecture Here and There

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