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Le Corbusier: A Life

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  8 reviews
From acclaimed biographer and cultural historian, author of Balthus and Patron Saints—the first full-scale life of le Corbusier, one of the most influential, admired, and maligned architects of the twentieth century, heralded is a prophet in his lifetime, revered as a god after his death.

He was a leader of the modernist movement that sought to create better living conditio
Hardcover, 848 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Knopf (first published November 8th 2008)
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Jan 20, 2010 Lytle is currently reading it
No need to speculate about how Corb would have processed even the most trivial of events or encounters--because he will have written 4 letters on the subject of each. Except that he lies--and this is where the fun comes in. Don't miss Léger describing Corb's first coming into view with his "bowler hat ... spectacles and a clergyman's overcoat" as "an object [advancing:] slowly on its bicycle, scrupulously obeying the laws of perspective"
Kathleen Farrell
I got this book from the library and I assigned myself the task of reading it through, but eventually I stopped because it was like chewing wood pulp. Sure, it seemed to be well researched. There were some anecdotes that stood out (Le Corbusier's brief fling with Josephine Baker). I just could not seem to get to what I wanted: how he came to be regarded by urban planners as nothing less than evil - I had read that his concept for the Plan Voisin was somehow manifest in the abysmal urban decay of ...more
Colin Bisset
This is a dry read and progresses very slowly, using LC's letters to his mother as a major source. While this can be frustrating at times, it does mean you really absorb the progression of LC's life, and that is what I will take from this book. I would have liked a little more analysis and a little less wonder at LC's genius but I'm sure that is one of the pitfalls of being an admiring biographer.

It is a rather claustrophobic read and I would have liked more context - what did LC think of Mies,
As with all biographies the ending is kind of a downer... because the main character dies. But a reasonable survey of the man's life, I suppose. The author perhaps gets a touch flowery in shining the "Hero/Genius" light around, near the end; and perhaps relies a bit too heavily on evaluating Corbusier's relationship with his Mother for some set of veiled psychological conclusions sprinkled throughout. It's best when it relies on quotes from letters and descriptions from those who knew Le Corbusi ...more
A great biography of a monumentally flawed man who made timeless monumental forms.
Phillip Crosby
Somewhat informative, but relied too much upon letters written to his mother as a source. The title could have been "Le Corbusier: Letters to my mother." The book completely glossed over some areas of Corb's story that I had hoped to learn more about, specifically his interaction with CIAM.
Dec 12, 2008 Curly marked it as to-read
one of my favorite architects and designers
Fascinating historical details that fill in so many holes in the life of Corbu. It was distressing, however, to read about his (unsatisfying) relationship with his (difficult) mother, particularly in such tedious detail. Not a happy man, but a compelling one.
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Nicholas Fox Weber is a cultural historian and Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. He has written extensively about both Josef and Anni Albers and curated many major exhibitions and retrospectives dedicated to their work. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Yale University and author of fourteen books including Patron Saints, The Art of Babar, The Drawings of Josef Alb ...more
More about Nicholas Fox Weber...
The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters of Modernism The Clarks of Cooperstown Balthus: A Biography Josef + Anni Albers: Designs for Living Art of Babar

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