Le Corbusier (1887-1965)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Le Corbusier (1887-1965)

Les deux soeurs

Le Corbusier (1887-1965)
Les deux soeurs
signed and dated 'Le Corbusier 38' (lower left); incised 'à Pierre Guéguen 1938' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
39½ x 32 in. (100.3 x 81.3 cm.)
Painted in 1938
Pierre Guéguen, Paris, a gift from the artist in 1938.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, London, 1 July 1969, lot 22.
Galerie Cazeau de la Béraudière, Paris.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Le Corbusier, New World Space, New York, 1948, p. 96.
Le Corbusier, 'Unité', in L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, Boulogne-sur-Seine, April 1948, p. 77 (illustrated fig. 92 bis).
J. Petit, Le Corbusier lui-même, Geneva, 1970, p. 213 (illustrated p. 224).
N. & J.P. Jornod, Le Corbusier, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, vol. I, Milan, 2005, no. 219, p. 652 & 654 (illustrated p. 653).
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Le Corbusier: Schilder, Architect, Stedebouwer, March 1947, no. 13.
Neuchâtel, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Le Corbusier, July - September 1980, no. 48.
Alessandria, Palazzo Monferrato, Le Corbusier: Dipinti e disegni, December 2007 - March 2008.
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

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.

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