Abandoning purism in the last few years of the 1920s, Le Corbusier’s art began to incorporate rounder, organic forms and, increasingly, the human figure. In the early 1930s this focus would shift almost exclusively to the female form; substituting bottles and glasses for the human figure, Le Corbusier is no less involved in exploring the relationship of elements within the composition, both to each other and to the composition as a whole.
Although the architectural principles which so powerfully informed his work of the 1920s have given way to a softer, more decorative aesthetic, Le Corbusier’s underlying preoccupations of spatial relationship still play themselves out in his work of the 1930s. Thus in Les deux soeurs the two figures of the title fit together in a lyrical conjunction of body parts and an exploration of movement and form. The two figures flow into one another in places, overlap in others and become indistinguishable in parts, complementing and contrasting in equal measure and with visually stunning results.
Le Corbusier’s figures in the present work are, typically, set against a landscape of semi-abstracted elements. Here, behind the embracing forms one can see a layered horizon of colour and a conch shell in the left foreground. Such ‘objets à réaction poètique’ as the artist called them, formed a collection of objects from nature which Le Corbusier drew upon to formulate ideas on structure. The artist was fascinated by the organisational harmony in nature, which he would in turn allow to influence his compositions both in painting and architecture. Furthermore the inclusion of the shell adds a dynamism and movement to the composition, enhancing the mystical and lyrical monumentality of the vibrantly rendered subject.