Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography

Nathalie Herschdorfer, Author, Nathalie Herschdorfer, Editor, Lada Umst Tter, Editor
Edited by Nathalie Herschdorfer and Lada Umstatter. Thames & Hudson, $60 (256p) ISBN 978-0-500-54422-8
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Lauded as one of the founders of modern architecture, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier, was active in a number of other mediums as well, including painting, sculpture, tapestries, and film. Here, editors Herschdorfer and Umstatter focus on the architect’s visual impact, collecting a wide range of photos, film stills, and other ephemera to give readers a greater appreciation of Le Courbusier’s artistic scope and lasting impact on the visual arts and architecture. Six essayists dive deep into specific aspects of Le Courbusier’s work, making the book’s title a bit of a misnomer, as all manner of materials are brought into the discussion. Preparatory sketches, ideas for book layouts, and casual snapshots show an eye for composition that later found their way into his architectural work. Roughly chronological, many of the pieces come together in the book’s two latter chapters, written by art historians Jean-Christophe Blaser and Klaus Spechtenhauser, respectively. Blaser examines Le Courbusier’s lasting influence by showcasing a number of buildings bearing his approach, while Spechtenhauser closes the book with an impressive collection of candid shots that show the human side of the iconic artist. Though the text often veers into the dusty corners of academia, this impressive collection of images and analysis will certainly give readers a deeper appreciation of the man, his work, and his impact on design. (Apr.)
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