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Related: 1920s - Cubism - machine age modern art - Le Corbusier - France


Purism was a form of Cubism advocated by the French painter Amédée Ozenfant and the architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier).

The two objected to developments in Cubist art, particularly the decorative elements. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier wanted a return to more basic forms, inspired by modern machinery. To them, the golden section was the ideal shape, something that is reflected in their work. The theory of Purism is expounded in the book La peinture moderne, (Paris, 1925), co-written by Ozenfant and Le Corbusier and subsequently published in English as The Foundations of Modern Art.

The Czech architect and painter Bed?ich Feuerstein was also influenced by Purism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purism [Feb 2006]

The new spirit

L'Esprit Nouveau numero 2
Image sourced here.

L'Esprit Nouveau: Purism in Paris 1918-1925 (2001) - Carol S. Eliel, Francoise Ducros [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art—LACMA—revisits the origins of the Modernist movement that made a lasting change in art and architecture with a pioneering exhibition, L’Esprit Nouveau: Purism in Paris, 1918–1925. As World War I came to a close and the machine age saturated daily lives the world over, three artists formed the core of an art movement that both championed the new and reflected the classical. Purism in Paris, organized by LACMA, examines the art and writings of Amédée Ozenfant, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (better known by his pseudonym, Le Corbusier), and Fernand Léger. Purism in Paris includes rarely exhibited paintings and drawings, as well as a full-scale reconstruction of the interior of Le Corbusier’s Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau (Pavilion of the New Spirit) built in 1925 for the International Exposition of Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris. Opening April 29, Purism in Paris remains on view through August 5, 2001.

The basis of the Purist movement is the work made between 1918 and 1925 by Purism's founders and leading proponents, Ozenfant and Jeanneret (Le Corbusier), and the work of 1920–25 by their closest colleague, Fernand Léger. Purism evolved as a response to both the artistic and historic conditions in post-World War I Paris. Realized particularly in painting and architecture, Purism championed a traditional classicism with a formal focus on clean geometries, yet it simultaneously embraced new technologies, new materials, and the machine aesthetic. --http://www.lacma.org/info/press/purism.htm [Feb 2006]

L'Esprit Nouveau
Design magazine published in Paris from 1920 to 1926 devoted to the promotion of developing ideas of Modernism in art, architecture and all other aspects of design.  The architect Le Corbusier and the painter Amedee Ozenfant were principal players.  In the Paris Exhibtion of 1925, L'Esprit Nouveau had a pavilion designed by Le Corbusier that was a striking showcase for his ideas.  A replica of the pavilion was built in Bologna, Italy in 1977. -- Dictionary of 20th Century Design" by John Pile

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