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Wednesday, 28 October 2015 11:23

Phillips to Auction Rare Works by Le Corbusier

Phillips has been entrusted with the sale of selected artworks by Le Corbusier from the Heidi Weber Museum Collection. The most comprehensive selection of his artworks to be presented at auction, it is offered from the collection of one of his most prominent patrons, Heidi Weber, who housed many of the works in the Heidi Weber Museum / Centre Le Corbusier, her private museum in Zurich designed by the artist and dedicated to showing his artistic works. Consisting of over 50 works and including paintings, sculptures, enamels, tapestries and works on paper, the collection will be offered at various-owner auctions in London and New York over the next three years and is conservatively expected to realize in excess of $30 million.

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Was the paradigm-changing architect known as Le Corbusier a fascist-leaning ideologue whose plans for garden cities were inspired by totalitarian ideals, or a humanist who wanted to improve people’s living conditions — a political naïf who, like many architects, was eager to work with almost any regime that would let him build?

These questions, long debated by experts, are at the heart of fresh controversy in France set off by three new books that re-examine that master Modernist’s politics and an exhibition on Le Corbusier at the Pompidou Center here through Aug. 3, commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death.

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A wooden Le Corbusier statue of a woman sold for 3.1 million francs ($3.3 million) at Christie’s in Zurich, setting an auction record for the Swiss artist.

“Femme,” a 6-foot-tall mahogany sculpture with red and white painted elements, was created by modernist architect Le Corbusier in 1962. The price, which includes a buyer’s premium, beats Le Corbusier’s previous record of 1 million pounds ($1.5 million), according to Hans-Peter Keller, head of Swiss art at Christie’s.

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The private art and furniture collection of the famed architect and designer of Sydney Opera House Jørn Utzon is going under the hammer at Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen in June.

Built upon Utzon's refined taste and close personal relationships to many renowned artists and designers, the Dane's collection includes pieces from the likes of Le Corbusier, Georges Braque, Fernand Léger, Henri Laurens, Pablo Picasso, Asger Jorn, and Alvar Aalto.

The highlight of the collection is doubtlessly a tapestry by Le Corbusier titled "Les dés sont jetés" (the dice is cast) (1960) which Le Corbusier created when the pair collaborated on the decoration of the Sydney Opera House.

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 Los Angeles’ Getty Foundation has launched a philanthropic initiative to conserve some of the world’s most iconic examples of modern architecture. Keeping It Modern will help preserve these architectural gems through grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. The initial ten projects that have been selected to receive funding are Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House in Australia; Hilario Candela’s Miami Marine Stadium in Florida; Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California; Alvar Aalto’s Paimio Sanatorium in Finland; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago; Ray and Charles Eameses’ residence ‘The Eames House’ in Los Angeles; I.M. Pei’s Luce Memorial Chapel in Taiwan; Max Berg’s Centennial Hall in Wrocław, Poland; Dov Karmi’s Max Liebling House in Tel Aviv; and Le Corbusier’s apartment and studio in Paris.

Keeping It Modern will address the considerable challenges involved with the conservation of modern architecture.

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The inscription of several Le Corbusier buildings on the Unesco’s World Heritage List is once again under discussion. According to Le Figaro, the president of the Association of Le Corbusier Sites, Marc Petit—who is also the mayor of Firmini, a small town in France’s Loire region featuring several of the architect’s buildings—is undeterred by the two previously unsuccessful attempts.

“We’ve redone our application taking into account the experts’ recommendations, particularly regarding the reduction of the number of sites,” he said, “although the proposal includes a new country, India.”

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Beyond the fields of lavender and honey-colored farmhouses, the land that launched a thousand fantasies is also home to another kind of delight: dazzling works of art and architecture by some of the great masters of modernism, from Picasso to Le Corbusier. Gully Wells goes on a treasure hunt.

One summer when I was a young and indolent teenager, I was packed off by my mother to stay for a week or so with some old family friends who lived in a farmhouse in the hills above Antibes on the French Riviera. Monsieur, tall with a wild bush of white hair, was a painter, and Madame, petite with olive-black eyes, was a sculptor.

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Le Corbusier’s Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France, one of the most important works of 20th-century ecclesiastical architecture, was severely damaged by vandals on Friday, January, 17. The suspects stole a concrete trunk, damaged a door and smashed a stained-glass window that was hand-finished by the Franco-Swiss architect with an original illustration. France’s Department of Historic Monuments has deemed the window to be irreplaceable.

The chapel is a unique work for Le Corbusier as it is smaller in scale and exhibits curvilinear forms as well as traditional iconography. Le Corbusier is credited with changing the face of urban architecture and is known for his efficient yet austere style.

The Chapel of Notre Dame is still used regularly by its adjoining abbey.

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The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents the exhibition Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis, an interdisciplinary show that sheds new light on the experimental decade of the 1920s in Paris. During that time, Fernand Léger, a French modernist painter, played an important role in redefining painting by engaging with the urban environment as well as mass media.

The cornerstone of the exhibition will be Léger’s The City (1919), which is also a pivotal part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection. The show will include other works by the artist that explore the city theme as well as film projections, theater designs, architectural models, and print and advertising designs by Léger as well as his contemporaries including Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier and Many Ray.

Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis, presents over 120 works, including loans from American and European public and private collections. The exhibition will be on view through January 5, 2014.

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The Museum of Modern Art is busy organizing the largest exhibition on the groundbreaking architect Le Corbusier ever to be held in New York. Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes is set to open on June 9 and run through September 23, 2013.

Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, Le Corbusier defined modern architecture during his career, which spanned five decades. Le Corbusier was not just an architect, but also an urban planner, a painter, a writer, a designer, and a theorist. Le Corbusier’s best-known buildings include the Palace for the League of Nations in Geneva, Villa Savoye in Poissy, France, the Swiss Building in Paris, and the Secretariat at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

An Atlas of Modern Landscapes will be curated by the modern architecture scholar, Jean-Louis Cohen, and will cover Le Corbusier’s long and varied career. The exhibition will explore Le Corbusier’s contributions to architecture, interior design, and city planning. Works on view will include writings, photographs, sketches, watercolors, and models of some of Le Corbusier’s most renowned works.

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