Le Courbusier, National Museum of Western Art. Current exhibition “le Courbusier and the 20th Century art”

I admit my inexcusable ignorance.

I did not know about Courbusier’s painter side. I thought he was just a mastermind of architecture. I remember of reading an essay about Urbanisme, probably written in the 30ies.

for instance I was amazed by how he envisaged the use of round intersections. With those reading’s souvenir, walking thoroughly this exhibition has been surprising.

When I think about the Urbanism I don’t see any relationship with the Art World, of course it is one of my several limits.

This long introduction to present you my thoughts about  Le Courbusier’s sides that everbody could appreciate currently in this museum  (National Museum of Western’s Art)

in japanese 国立西洋美術館 Kokuritsu Seiyō Bijutsukan


The project of this Museum speaks French, according to the chronology of their site, Le Courbusier was named by 1955, and the buidling was inagurated 4 years later (1959).

In 1975 other wings were added according to a project of Maekawa Kunio, another japanese big architect of the past. It seems that is the only Le Courbusier’s building of the whole Japan.


Recently many lectures have been planned at the Mori’s museum about Le Courbusier’s influence into japanese architecture (ANDO, ITO, Aoki, MAki…).

Now let’s go to the exhibition.

The gap is huge. There are several paintings maden by le Courbuosier and few others by artists of he same time ( I recall a Picasso fro instance). While his buildings are still speaking to Us, as if we were his co-citizens, the same cannot be said for his paintings. They are afflicted by the signs of the time more than a Le courbusier’s fan would admit. They might be effective for his design research during his life but from a 2013 point of view they are relegated to that avantgardist’s time. You can see the cubism, somebody else maybe would find a drip of abstractism, and others are surely better than me in discovering those smilitarities. The fact is that none of those paintings are utterly valuable by a normal onlooker. Hence, the exhibition is a good way to appraise the milieu into where the artist was working and for that it is by any means interesting. Don’t expect to discover such greatness.

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