"Le Corbusier: Unité"

“There do not exist sculptors only, painters only, architects only. The plastic event fulfills itself in an overall form in duty of poetry.”      —Le Corbusier

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“Le Corbusier: Unité” will be the next exhibition opening at the Quogue Gallery, featuring etchings with aquatints from the artist’s “Unité Portfolio,” number 37 of 130.  The exhibition will be on view from November 26, 2014 through January 1, 2015, with an opening reception scheduled on Saturday, November 29, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

Based on a series of pastels that Le Corbusier drew in 1953, the “Unité” etchings were engraved between 1963 and 1965. The portfolio was printed at the Atelier Crommelynck in Paris in 1965 and published in a single edition of 130, with each edition comprised of 20 plates. 

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"Unite, Plate 7" by Le Corbusier. Venetian glass, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

"Unite, Plate 7" by Le Corbusier. Venetian glass, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

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Before Le Corbusier became one of the seminal architects of the 20th century, he worked as a painter and an engraver who had been deeply engaged with drawing since his youth. While his reputation and renown as a revolutionary and influential architect is undisputed, his paintings, prints and drawings remained almost unknown until his 70th year, despite the artist’s insistence that painting and architecture were inextricably bound.

The genesis of these works can be found in Le Corbusier’s paintings from 1918 to 1925 when he and the artist Amédée Ozenfant co-founded Purism. At the time, Le Corbusier was still known by his given name, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret; he adopted his pseudonym in 1920 and used it exclusively after 1923. Also part of the movement was Fernand Léger who completed some of his best-known paintings, including The Mechanic and The Women (Le Grand Dejeuner) during his association with Purism. 

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"Unite, Plate 18" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

"Unite, Plate 18" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

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In keeping with such concurrent movements as Dada and Surrealism, Purism had its own manifesto that Ozenfant and Le Corbusier titled “Après le cubism” (“After Cubism”). The philosophy of Purism drew parallels between art and science, stating that “art must generalize to attain beauty,” perhaps a reaction to their belief that Cubism had become overly decorative. “What Cubism often resolves with a change in the specificity of object,” Le Corbusier said, “Purism accomplishes by organic arrangement.”

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"Unite, Plate 9" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

"Unite, Plate 9" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

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The "Unité" etchings celebrate organic arrangements in compositions that simply and masterfully blend color, line and form. The aquatints showcase Le Corbusier’s belief that “colour is an immediate and spontaneous expression of life.” These engravings incorporate still-life notions from his Purism days as well as depictions of women, a common theme throughout his work. 

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"Unite, Plate 2" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

"Unite, Plate 2" by Le Corbusier. Etching with Aquatint, 22.5 x 17.8 inches.

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The “Unité Portfolio” was one of Le Corbusier’s very last projects before his untimely death in 1965. In keeping with his lifelong philosophy that art has no boundaries, the “Unité Portfolio” was intended to be a complete, unified work of art. This exhibit offers a rare opportunity to see the exquisite etchings of the portfolio displayed together.

Le Corbusier: Unité” opens November 26, 2014 and remains on view through January 1, 2015. An Opening Reception will be held on November 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. Quogue Gallery is located at 44 Quogue Street, Quogue, NY 11959. www.quoguegallery.com.

About Quogue Gallery

The Quogue Gallery showcases modern and contemporary artists whose works include paintings and prints, photography and sculpture. Recent exhibits have included the paintings of Raymond Hendler and Susan Vecsey and the photography of Barbara Vaughn. For further information and opening hours, visit www.quoguegallery.com.

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