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Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes at MoMA

A retrospective on the life and work of Le Corbusier opens today at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. This selection of drawings and paintings by the architect documents the various stages of his career, as presented in the exhibition.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
Blue mountains, 1910

The first of five sections in Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes is entitled From the Jura Mountains to the Wide World and covers the early years of the architect's life.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
Un Embrasement (a blaze)

Born in 1887 under the name Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, he learnt to draw by exploring the landscape surrounding his home in Switzerland.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
Parthenon, Athens, 1911, perspective of the colonnade and the landscape

Towards the end of this time he visited cities across Europe, including Vienna, Athens, Paris and Berlin.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
La Cheminée (the fireplace), 1918

Section two, The Conquest of Paris, shows works completed after the architect settled in Paris, when he adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier and launched avant-garde art journal L'Esprit nouveau (The new spirit) with friends.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Above: Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, 1927
Top image: Voisin Plan for Paris, 1925, axonometric with Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin gates

In 1922 he opened an architecture studio with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret (1896–1967), developing various theoretical schemes and constructing villas for the Paris elite.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Music pavilion for Villa Church, Ville d’Avray, 1927-29

The third section of the exhibition is Responding to Landscape, from Africa to the Americas, and follows a decade where Le Corbusier began to work on projects outside France and Switzerland.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Urban plan for Rio de Janeiro, 1929

In 1929 he developed plans for Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Montevideo, as well as a masterplan for the transformation of Algiers.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Plan Obus, Algiers, 1932, version A, general plan

Chandigarh, a New Urban Landscape for India is the next stage in the story and traces the architect's commission to design a new city for India.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
Plan for Buenos Aires, 1929, profile view from the Rio de la Plata

Many of the bird's-eye-view drawings made for the proposals for Chandigarh derived from sketches made while he was travelling between Europe and India.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Capitol Complex, Chandigarh, 1951-65

The final section of the exhibition is Toward the Mediterranean, or the Eternal Return and displays projects from the last fifteen years of Le Corbusier's life.

Le Corbusier exhibition at MoMA
Governor’s Palace, Chandigarh, 1951-65

During this period he completed some of his most famous buildings, from the Unités d'Habitations in Marseille to the Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut and the Convent of Sainte-Marie de La Tourette.

Le Corbusier at MoMA
Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, 1950-55

The exhibition is open at MoMA until 23 September and is curated by architect and historian Jean-Louis Cohen. It will later travel to the Fundació "la Caixa" museums in Madrid and Barcelona in 2014.

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