Monday, July 27, 2015

France: Museum Whitewashes Le Corbusier's Anti-Semitism

Via The Forward
Le Corbusier — the Swiss-French master of modernist architecture — was a fascist sympathizer who had an office in Vichy during the Second World War and displayed anti-Semitism in his private correspondence. But an exhibition currently running at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, “ Le Corbusier: Mesures de l’homme, ” won’t tell you any of this.

The revelations about Le Corbusier’s political beliefs have come to light in books published this year — 50 years after his death — including “ Le Corbusier, un fascisme français ” by Xavier de Jarcy and François Chaslin’s “ Un Corbusier. ” These studies of archived material sparked a national debate in France over the architect’s legacy and exposed the connection between Le Corbusier, anti-Semitism, fascism and the Vichy regime.


Need it be said that a man with such close ties to fascism had none-too-savory views about Jews? As early as 1910, he wrote to a friend to discuss installing “smoking rooms for fat Jews.” In August 1940, in correspondence with his mother, Le Corbusier wrote, “money, Jews (partly responsible), Freemasonry, all will feel just law.” He wrote of 1943, which came during the period of mass deportation of Jews from France to the extermination camps of the East, as “a year in which nothing special happened.”

“ Le Corbusier: Mesures de l’homme ” does not touch on any of this. It chooses to present the architect’s development and evolution within the artistic and architectural context of the age. Le Corbusier, the exhibit claims (in a purple and near-incomprehensible language that only exists, and indeed thrives, in art galleries), “drew on the organic laws of human perception and cognition to define the principles of a multi-faceted creativity at the origins of modernism.”  more

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