Modernism’s Monster

From The Washington Post:

Lecor In 1938, while visiting a new villa built by the Irish designer Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier was inspired to improve on her work. He admired the white-walled classicism and industrial finesse of the home, which was built in the spirit of his own domestic architecture. But he thought it needed a little something. And so Le Corbusier stripped naked, took out his paint brushes and covered the house with large, sexually provocative images. “One of the murals was on the previously spare white wall behind the living-room sofa, so that what had been specified by Gray to be a point of visual respite was now an animated scenario,” writes Nicholas Fox Weber in his new biography, Le Corbusier: A Life. Gray, who admired Le Corbusier and was, like many architects, proprietary about her work, felt “raped” by the incident.

Le Corbusier — the Swiss modernist who, along with Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, laid down the commandments of 20th-century architecture — might have known better. After all, he became so enraged by how the art was hung in the house he built for the wealthy collector Raoul La Roche that he broke with his best friend at the time, the painter Amédée Ozenfant, who had perpetrated the unauthorized hanging: “I insist absolutely that certain parts of the architecture should be entirely free of paintings,” he wrote.

More here.