Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Collision and Collusion: Interactions in Le Corbusier's Art and Architecture, Purism and Beyond
by Hendricks, Ruth Genevieve S., Ph.D., New York University, 2013, 355; 3591243
Abstract (Summary)

Le Corbusier (1887-1965), the prolific Swiss-born French architect, painter, urbanist, critic and designer, embodied a spirit of interdisciplinary exploration through his experimentation across media. Between 1918 and 1927 Le Corbusier and the painter Amédée Ozenfant created Purism, a response to Cubism which forged a vital link between avant-garde practices in early 20th-century painting and architecture through its return to clear, ordered forms expressive of the modern machine age. In this early period of painting, he concentrated on treating the canvas not as a pictorial surface but as a tectonic space, experimenting with perspectival elisions and spatial ordering, and several key studies have addressed the relation between Le Corbusier's painting and architecture at this point of his development.

This thesis extends this line of inquiry by addressing the connections between his art and architecture during the 1930s with particular emphasis on tracing the themes which defined his paintings and drawings from the late 1920s onwards and how they informed his architectural production. It examines the changing and dynamic relationship between his art and architecture, a relationship which evolved as he enlarged his artistic vocabulary and began include new objects and forms. The developments in his paintings often foreshadowed changes in his architecture, as he moved away from a Purist syntax of clearly ordered and regimented lines and spaces by embracing French vernacular architecture and celebrating Mediterranean colors and light. In his paintings, Le Corbusier continued to use and modify motifs from his Purist period, but his treatment of line, color, and texture evolved, and eventually even his pictorial frame of reference began to change. Concurrently, he began to explore new textures, arrangements and configurations in his architecture, experimenting with combinatory effects. A careful reading of his graphic works in conjunction with his architectural projects reveals that he was constantly searching for ways in which they might interrelate. This dissertation argues that understanding the seminal and continuous role played by his paintings throughout his career is essential to grasping the totality of his work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cohen, Jean-Louis
Commitee: Kopcke, Guenter, Lubar, Robert, Soucek, Priscilla
School: New York University
Department: Fine Arts
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Biographies, Art history
Keywords: Architecture, Drawing, France, Le Corbusier, Painting, Purism
Publication Number: 3591243
ISBN: 9781303317910
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