The Almine Rech gallery in New York has launched its Nomadic Murals exhibition featuring the tapestries of French-Swiss architect and designer Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier.
The gallery collected five of the tapestries, of which only 30 were made, to show them as part of the Nomadic Murals exhibition.
All the tapestries are woven representations of paintings made by Le Corbusier, who was known for his artistic endeavors which included speculative drawings and figurative paintings.
The works were referred to as “nomadic” because of the ability to take the tapestries from place to place or move them to meet the needs of specific interiors.
“I think it’s important to show how interested, concerned and creative he was in dealing with interior design,” said gallery founder Almine Rech.
“The tapestry tradition is very interesting, based on the idea that your ‘mural’ will travel easily,” she told Dezeen.
Le Corbusier first considered the possibility of having his work represented as tapestries in 1936 from his interaction with art entrepreneur Marie Cuttoli, and 12 years later contributed art for his first, a practice he continued until his death in 1965.
The tapestries in the collection were produced by textile artist Pierre Baudouin, who transformed the original “comics” that Le Corbusier created with paints and pencils into large-scale wall hangings.
“We have many studies that are very historical and rarely seen,” Rech told Dezeen.
According to architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen, Le Corbusier’s interest in tapestry stemmed from a challenge by the French painter Fernand Léger, who criticized Modernist architects for imposing “smooth” and ” news” to people.
Le Corbusier believed that tapestries had the ability to bring “warmth” to interiors, according to Cohen.
According to Cohen, Le Corbusier wrote to the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer to profess his enthusiasm for tapestries as a place where painting “finds architectonic sustenance in full consciousness”.
“Exploring all the processes used on paper, the exhibition expresses the liveliness of his imagination by unveiling the originality and strength of his works woven into the larger context of post-war tapestry,” Cohen continued.
The gallery has included 18 of Le Corbusier’s original “cartoon drawings” alongside the finished tapestries.
A stylistic drawing that led to the largest tapestry ever designed by Le Corbusier and exhibited at the High Court in Chandigarh is also on display.
“We are delighted to show the original ‘cartoon’ of the mural titled Marie Cuttoli from 1936, and a gouache on paper of the study for the famous Chandigarh mural,” said Rech.
The pieces in the exhibition come from private collections, from the architect’s foundation in France as well as from the Le Corbusier collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
Le Corbusier was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen later in life. He was known as an early proponent and producer of modernist structures and furniture.
His most iconic works include the plan for the Indian city of Chandigarh as well as free-standing structures such as the Cité Radieuse, an experimental building constructed in France following the destruction left behind by World War II. Seventeen of its buildings have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Nomadic Murals will be exhibited at the Almine Rech gallery in New York from September 14 to October 22. Check out our Dezeen Events Guide for more information on other exhibitions, installations and talks.
The photography is by Dan Bradica.