“Without a dealer and without a fixed market value… I find myself painting without selling.”
The fortunes of the artist who wrote those words in 1948 at the age of 60 – – the late master architect Le Corbusier – – have improved considerably: His paintings have been selling at a steadily increasing rate for the past two decades.
Universally recognized as one of the great architects of the 20th century, Le Corbusier kept his painting largely hidden from the public during his lifetime. “Painting is a bitter struggle,” he wrote, “terrifying, pitiless, unseen; a duel between the artist and himself”. With canvas rarely obtainable during the Nazi occupation of France, he continued painting on what he described as “small pieces of wood, sometimes the size of your hand”. Painting and architecture were interlocking arts for him, equally objects of what he called his “irrepressible desire to bring colors or canvas, buildings or cities to the highest brilliance.”