Originally published in Le Corbusier Before Le Corbusier: Applied Arts, Architecture, Painting and Photography, 1907-1922, edited by Stanislaus von Moos and Arthur Ruegg. New Haven and London: Published for the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, New York by Yale University Press, 2002. 99-107.



Beginning in 1920 Le Corbusier consistently criticized, at times harshly, French architecture of the classical period. At the same time, however, he continued to draw practical lessons—in terms of conceptual method and principles of composition—from the documents he had studied at the Bibliothèque Nationale in the summer of 1915. To understand his approach to these materials,1 it is particularly valuable to examine the many drawings he completed after consulting two influential books: Gabriel Pérelle’s Topographie de France (published by Jombert in 1753 and 1766) and Pierre Patte’s Monumens érigés en France à la gloire de Louis XV (published in 1765), both of which had engravings.2

French Classicism Between History and Criticism

Jeanneret’s interest in early modern France was conditioned by the self-education that led him to demand precise answers from the study of history. At the same time he compared his results with the documentary analyses that French scholars and art historians had begun to produce in the last decade of the nineteenth century. In 1915, for example, Jeanneret consulted the volumes of the Procès-verbaux of the Académie royale d’architecture, which had begun to be published in 1911 by Henry Lemonnier, the first professor of early modern art history at the Sorbonne (1893).3 Beginning around 1910, Jeanneret’s curiosity led him to examine the Empire-style interiors of Versailles, Compiègne, and Fontainebleau, images of which he collected in postcard form.4 Lemonnier’s student Louis Hautecoeur also wrote about the genesis of this style, a point of no return as far as the stylistic eclecticism of the nineteenth century was concerned, reaffirming the early studies in French art, between the Revolution and the Empire, published by François Benoît, another student of Lemonnier, in 1897.5 From 1909 onward, Jeanneret’s curiosity about Versailles was matched by a powerful turn of conscience over the cultural role that the palace had played in history, a role emphasized in the monographs and courses that had been taught since 1892 by Pierre de Nolhac, curator at the museum of Versailles,6 Above all, however, it was the work of Marcel Poëte, and his interest in the French context of urban historiography, that galvanized Jeanneret.

In the 1910s Poëte had initiated the systematic revision of Parisian history, from its origins through to the grand transformations of the late nineteenth century.7 This work became an essential source for Jeanneret and the two men were in steady contact during the early 1920s.8 Poëte’s history of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Paris, based on period plans and views sparked Jeanneret’s own researches in 1915. The Bibliothèque des Travaux historiques de la ville de Paris, where Poëte was chief curator, mounted an exhibition in 1911 entitled Paris durant la Grande Epoque classique.9 Although far removed from any explicit monarchical pretensions, the Third Republic nevertheless invoked the history of ancien régime France, especially Versailles, as a token of cultural identity.10 In any case, the quest for a national, cultural continuity also included architectural culture.

In the early 1920s several important exhibitions of French architecture of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries proposed philological research as an efficient weapon against both stylish eclecticism and the programmatic denial of any reference to past architecture. These exhibitions were held within a year of each other; one was organized by Robert Danis, director of the new École régionale d’architecture, in Strasbourg (May 1922), and the other, by Louis Hautecoeur, in Paris (January 1923).11 Although critic Léandre Vaillat had few words of praise for the projected cité future (Ville contemporaine) that Le Corbusier presented at the Salon d’Automne in 1922,12 when assessing Hautecoeur’s Paris exhibition of 1923 he focused on the continuity of a classical ideal capable of connecting the history of French architecture to the present: “The way of the world, we have to remember, is that those who proudly call themselves modern today, will become ridiculous and old-fashioned faster than the teachers of yesteryear.”13 Vaillat was clearly alluding to the brand of poetics that would become a recurrent theme in Auguste Perret’s theoretical analysis of his own architecture. It is equally clear exactly whom he meant when he referred to a “new architecture” (architecture nouvelle) that would be innovative in obliterating the historical context.

The Problem with Perret

It was in the spring of 1922 that relations between Perret and Le Corbusier finally deteriorated, after events surrounding the design of the hôtel particulier Gaut.14 They disagreed over two themes essential to classical architecture: the capping cornice and the vertical window.15 Ten years later Le Corbusier still referred to Perret as a “continuateur – pas du tout revolutionnaire” (continuator – not at all a revolutionary) when he recalled Perret’s insistent invitations to visit the Palais de Versailles together (during Le Corbusier’s first Paris sojourn, 1908-9). Le Corbusier’s words unequivocally expressed his own distancing from a modernity that still traced its lineage to French classicism.16 It hardly mattered that Perret criticized at Versailles the lack of structural clarity that he vaunted in his own architectural poetics.17 Even so, it was by comparing the structural organisms of the Dôme des Invalides and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées that Jeanneret, on the eve of World War I, grasped the capacity of contemporary architecture for change.18 When he presented his plans for a Ville contemporaine in 1922, however, it was the editorial of the journal of the Société Centrale des Architectes, L’Architecture, that championed his proposal.19 In an article for the journal, Raymond Cogniat emphasized the legacy of French classicism in Le Corbusier’s designs, despite the criticisms the design had received:

undoubtedly, one may object to the monotony of these rectilinear avenues. Do not our rectilinear perspectives—rue de Rivoli, les Champs-Elysées, la place Vendôme, la place des Vosges, la rue Royale—attract foreigners, surely they will increase admiration.20 In effect, from the late 1920s onward, Le Corbusier distanced himself from the most radical wing of architects (such as Hans Schmidt), who had participated in the creation of the CIAM. This distancing, as well as the academicism identified in his project for the Mundaneum,21 only demonstrated the importance that Le Corbusier attached to French “classical architecture” in his approach to design.

Versailles and the Engravings of Gabriel Pérelle

Pérelle’s engravings are essential to documenting the architecture of Paris and the Île-de-France in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, Jeanneret during his studies at the Bibliothèque Nationale, did not focus primarily on their architectural details. Instead, these views apparently led him to understand the buildings as emergent architectural objects on an urban or, better still, an environmental scale.22 In this light, the sketch that he made after Pérelle’s engraving of Saint-Adjuteur du Vernon is a representative example: the settlement had become the subject of the illustration and a hierarchy was adduced from the system of elements that unite the village of Vernon with the suburb of Vernonnet.23 But it was the complex of palace and gardens of Versailles that truly fascinated Jeanneret. His 1915 sketches after Pérelle’s engravings are critical reconsiderations of the palace’s spatial construction—not only the architecture, but also the landscape; this is demonstrated by his repeated studies of the fountains in the park of Versailles. In the case of the bassin de Flore, for example, Jeanneret emphasized the architectural character of the gardens, which evoked an “admirable image of clipped groves with deep fountains, fences, paths etc. (very sculptural)” [emphasis added].24 He reduced Pérelle’s regular and patterned drawing of the water jets to such an extent that the putti, embracing the vases from which the water flows on the central fountain, disappear and all the surrounding figures are either omitted or sketched as abstract marks. Jeanneret was mainly impressed by the scale of the groves, those constructed masses that seemed to him to define urban and architectural space. In a contemporary notation he alluded to the difficulty that a lay person would have in reading the “engraved bird’s-eye views of the gardens of Lenôtre [sic]”; in effect what was required was a spatial perception of the garden as architectural object: entering the house, here are the billowy volumes, that move in rhythm, that lighten or darken, that are intensely, violently or delicately colored. It is the same when one penetrates the gardens of Lenotre.25

The Gardens

The study of seventeenth-century French gardens had a profound impact on Jeanneret’s approach to early modern, architectural classicism precisely because of its prerogative as planned space.26 This aspect began to dominate the notes he drew from Antoine Dézallier d’Argenville’s Théorie et la pratique du jardinage (1747 edition). He was interested not only in the design of the boulingrins (“bowling greens”) and parterres, but also in the garden’s other three-dimensional and tectonic elements, its cabinets, salles, pièces, cloîtres.27 It is no coincidence that one undated study, which examined the gardens of the Orangerie de Versailles, emphasized the counterpoint inherent in the “pointillisme cubique” of the flower boxes of oranges and dwarf oranges “that play with the adjacent flower beds.”28 His drawings of the fountains of Latone and Apollo go on to underscore the mass and volume of the adjacent woods.29 His notation on the drawing of the fountain of Latone also suggests the wide gap between his concerns and those of contemporary art historians: “the prestige of Louis XIV is great because of today’s Versailles, and not because of some bygone marvel where the colorful stories might just as well be the gossip of courtesans.”30

This idea of grandeur was born from his reading of a geometry of space that dissolved only at the horizon. In the margin of the same drawing, Jeanneret also wrote: “The large avenues—today, grand cathedral naves, consist of countless small bands of chestnut trees at the end of a row— … in Clagny, in Sceaux just as in Versailles one thought large and for the future.”31 Hence Jeanneret used line to stress the progression of the avenues toward the horizon, almost as though they were a system of ascending ramps. In his sketch the horizontal plane seems to rise up to meet the viewer.

Jeanneret’s interpretation of the engraving of the fountain of Apollo appears all the more significant: He elevates and, more importantly, shifts the perspective from the axis of Pérelle’s representation. This deliberate rotation departs from the axiality of the geometric system around the basin, but does not negate it. Instead it focuses attention on a system of axes at the scale of the landscape and one readily recalls the bird’s-eye perspectives that Le Corbusier later adopted to represent space on the grand scale, like those of the “centre de Paris” in the Plan Voisin.

“Louis XIV S’est Trompé”

Two sketches are particularly evocative of the relationship between the Palais de Versailles and the surrounding areas: once again they depart from Pérelle’s engravings depicting Versailles from opposite sides of the palace courtyard. In the first instance,32 Jeanneret concentrates on the plastic elements that characterize its spatial disposition, in particular the two curvilinear ramps that lead from the entrance and bridge the difference in level between the courtyard and the two terraces stretched along the palace wings. These ramps become still more evident in the second sketch, which emphasizes their correspondence with the system of parterres and allées that branch off from the entrance and bypass the stables in a star-shaped arrangement. The other feature that Jeanneret emphasizes is the staggered profile of the main palace block surrounding the courtyard, which Pérelle had illustrated in the first engraving. The sketch that Le Corbusier traced from this engraving reappeared in Vers un architecture in 1923. By that time Le Corbusier had chosen a polemical tone, denying the project’s star shaped planning: a man has only two eyes, at a height of 1 meter 70 [centimeters], which can only fix upon one point at a time. You can only see the arms of the stars one at a time—and they are like a right-angle masked by foliage. A right-angle is not a star; stars disappear. And so on; the large fountain, the embroidered flower beds that are not part of a total vision, the buildings that can be seen in fragments and by moving around. This is the snare and illusion. Louis XIV deceived himself by his own volition. He violated the architectural truths because he did not proceed with the objective elements of architecture.33

Despite this critique, Le Corbusier still included the staggered plan of the Versailles cour d’honneur in one of his earliest projects to integrate the scales of landscape and architecture—the rues à redents.34 Moreover, the similarities between his studies for the palace of the League of Nations in Geneva and the scheme of the Palais de Versailles still resonate in 1926.35 Although he chose to denounce the vanité immense of Louis XIV by 1923, in the summer of 1915 the lesson of Versailles was still a prime motivating force for him, because it was the Sun King whom he credited for active innovation outside the boundaries of the medieval city. As Jeanneret observed:

examining the prints of Pérelle, one finds a Paris so poorly organized, so picturesque and so dirty, that one imagines the desire to clean, and even almost a helplessness to create an ensemble, because everything must be redone—quays, houses, etc. Palace, pinnacles, gables, spires, lanterns, etc. One understands why Louis XIV left for Versailles, a new place.36

Not surprisingly, therefore, Jeanneret’s interest in Pérelle’s engraved representations of urban buildings was limited to reading the interludes—the Observatoire, the Invalides, even the Jardins des Plantes—that, like Versailles, challenged the city’s compact fabric.37

Pierre Patte and the Example of the “Embellissements”

Jeanneret consulted the four volumes of Jacques-François Blondel’s Architecture françoise (1752-56), which together with Blondel’s theoretical works were essential to understanding the overall context of French classical architecture.38 The most conspicuous collection of Jeanneret’s sketches and notes from 1915, however, are actually based on Patte’s publication of the projects for the places royales commissioned by Louis XV. During his research for “La Construction des villes” (already completed),39 Jeanneret may have made his first contacts with the French eighteenth-century theory of embellissements, while he was in Germany, via the work of Werner Hegemann and Albert Erich Brinckmann.40 This initiation was enriched in 1915 when Jeanneret began systematically combing through the original documents in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Jeanneret’s interest stretched well beyond historical analysis; his aim was to establish a repertoire of models through his own reexamination of Patte’s engraved plates.41

The organization of plates in the Monumens érigés en France à la gloire de Louis XV (1765) became Jeanneret’s authentic guide to understanding urban design in France during the mid-eighteenth century, from the scale of the building to that of the city. It was an understanding that Jeanneret acquired both in the spirit of analysis and of reformulation,42 one in which his interest in the consistency of scale predominated. The case of Rouen serves as an example. Patte had devoted several plates to Carpentier’s project for the new hôtel de ville. Jeanneret rapidly distilled its elevations while concentrating on Rouen’s overall urban layout, duplicating Patte’s pertinent comments about the “chain of remarkable buildings, where the Place du Roi could be considered as the city center.”43 In the same spirit, Jeanneret interpreted the linkage of open spaces in Nancy – where the volume of the Place Louis XV (onto which the town hall faced) was connected to that of the Place de la Carrière. Moreover, at Nancy, the Place de la Carrière was circumscribed by “uniformly decorated buildings erected at the King’s expense,”44 including the double exedrae that the Hôtel de l’Intendance faced. Jeanneret noted on the page: “Nothing is so beautiful and nothing declares itself so majestically as that building. The ground floor is open and leads to a public garden.”45

On many later occasions Jeanneret would return to the concatenations of Nancy, especially the manner in which its gardens complemented the architecture.46 Yet, in this regard, it was the Place de Louis XV in Paris that interested him most and would become part of his intellectual journey to understanding the city’s growth. His drawings only confirm the importance he attached to the relationship between urban space and natural context, whether exemplified by the River Seine or the Jardin des Tuileries. The 90-degree rotation of Patte’s engraving of the overall plan emphasizes the relationship between the river and the axis connecting the place to the church of the Madeleine by way of the rue Royale.47

Shaping the Riverfront

Jeanneret’s focus on the transformations of Paris along the Seine was constant, as is evident from his choice of Pérelle’s engraving of the Porte de la Conférence. Jeanneret’s interest recalls the emphasis that Poëte had placed on this aspect in his reading of the urban development of Paris between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.48 Jeanneret noted the dimensions and catalogued the elements that made up the Place Louis XV, but his drawings reveal his interest in the relationship between the jardins des Tuileries and the space of the place.49 He stressed the “terrasses promenoirs pour jouir de la place” (promenades for enjoyment of the place) and redesigned Patte’s view of the Tuileries, framing the octagonal fountain with two semielliptical ramps that lead toward the same terraces.50 The theme of the ramp reappears here, as at Versailles, as a promenade between nature and architecture, the conceptual origin of the promenade architectural that would become part of Le Corbusier’s architecture during the 1920s, as for example in the curvilinear ramp in the gallery of the Villa La Roche.

The Coalition Against “Pastiche”

Jeanneret, therefore, used his historical reading of the city as a way of understanding the present. The objective of his critique was that same language of eclectic pastiche that academic and professional circles also attacked during the early postwar period.

The feeling of volume so powerfully expressed in previous eras disappeared in the 19th century. The “Classicism” of that period wished to retain from that past only the outlines with which it had expressed itself; it had lost its spirit. Hypnotized by the magnificent mementos of Louis XIV and Louis XV, our builders have studded our towns with star- and square-shaped places with monuments situated in the geometric center, on the pretext that they are no different from the splendid forms that the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have handed down to us. By applying this dry and arid formula, they forget art, which is to say, they do not trouble themselves with volume, contrasts, nor “human scale;” in a word, they ignore corporality.51

The interest that the projects recorded by Patte assumed in Jeanneret’s eyes is exemplified by the attention he devoted to Patte’s plan d’extension de la cité, placed in the margins of a plate that once again joined several projects for embellishing the map of Paris.52 Jeanneret highlighted the focal points – the “mushroom” of water at the point of the island, the obelisks, the statue of Louis XV, and the connecting bridges. In particular he examined the western knot of these interlinked isles, marking the key elements of urban composition with annotations: a “new, colossal cathedral at the place dauphine,” “the large flight of stairs [that leads] directly to the Point Neuf,” the space fronting the eastern facade of the Louvre, its counterpart on the Left Bank, and the twin churches that had caused the destruction of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois.53 Jeanneret’s decision to note down the few technical details that Patte announced, like the “redesigned quays, with galleries below, where one could place the empty water hoses” is equally significant. It is also quite evident that in Jeanneret’s eyes this project was an unprecedented example of forceful intervention in an urban center. The conclusions he reached when faced with these projects translated into a warning against contemporary planning culture. One of his notations reads:

It is an interesting idea: during the time of Louis XV, one can see what [Patte] foresaw. Everything opened, breathed and acquired breadth. Today such an approach would be unfeasible because to live, those squares must have narrow road openings, etc. Today one needs enormity, an abundance of other factors: let us therefore create accordingly, with equal audacity! [emphasis added].54

Patte’s proposals represented important stimuli for the experimental, citywide designs that Le Corbusier would propose for Paris. They suggested the real design solutions with which he planned “to liberate” the center of the city with the Plan Voisin, exhibited at the Pavilion de l’Esprit Nouveau in 1925. Beyond its formal content, his method of looking at urban space was nourished by the experiments of the eighteenth century.

© Bard Graduate Center, Antonio Brucculeri.

1.For the various catalogues that have appeared to date, see Phillippe Duboy, “Architecture de la ville, culture et triomphe de l’urbanisme: Ch.-E Jeanneret, “La Construction des villes,’ Bibliothèque Nationale de Par is, 1915,” prepared with the Ministère de l’Urbanisme, du Logement et Transport. Paris, 1985; and idem, “Ch.-E. Jeanneret à la Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1915,” AMC. Architectue, mouvement, continuité, 49 (1979): 9-12.

2.According to Bibliothèque Nationale (BN) call slips, Jeanneret consulted two volumes by Charles-Antoine Jombert: Les Délices de Paris et de ses environs (Paris: Jombert, 1753); and Les Délices de Versailles (Paris: Jombert, 1766); for the call slips, see B2-20-431 and B2-20-391, Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC). Probably as a result of these early readings, he consulted the complete works of Pérelle’s engravings, especially vols. 2 and 3, Cabinet des Estampes, BN, Ed.76.b and Ed.76.c. See Pierre Patte, Monumens érigés en France à la gloire de Louis XV (Paris, by the author, 1765). Jeanneret consulted yet another work by Patte, Essai sur l’architecture théàtrale relativement à l’optique et l’acoustique, avec plans des principaux théàtres d’Europe (Paris: Chez Moutard, 1782). See the call slip, FLC B2-20-408.

3.See Henry Lemonnier, Procès-verbaux de l’Académie royale d’architecture (1671-1739), 10 vols. (Paris: Colin, 1911-29). For Jeanneret’s BN call slip, see B2-20-204, FLC. Lemonnier wrote essays on French art and architecture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. See also Henry Lemonnier, L’Art français à l’époque de Richelieu et Mazarin (Paris: Hachette, 1893); and idem, L’Art français au temps de Louis XIV (1661-1691) (Paris: Hachette, 1911). On Lemonnier, see Lyne Therrien, L’Histoire de l’art en France: Genèse d’une discipline universitaire (Paris: Editions du C.T.H.S., 1998): 314-32.

4.See CEJ to Charles L’Eplattenier, Berlin, 16 January 1911, FLC E2-12-54-59, quoted in Rosario De Simone, Ch.E. Jeanneret-Le Corbusier: Viaggio in Germania, 1910-1911 (Rome: Officina, 1989): 120-26. Jeanneret refers to some sixty images of the interiors of Versailles, Compiègne, and Fontainebleau that he had collected. These are now at the Fondation Le Corbusier: L5-7-287-293, 303-312 and 318-320; L5-5-162-146 and 191. The group includes twenty-six postcards: seven of the interiors of the palace of Versailles dating to the First Empire; ten of the Grand [Trianon]; three of the Petit Trianon; five of the castles in Compièegne; and one of Fontainebleau.

5.Hautecoeur had already expressed his criticism in his doctoral dissertation, which was published as Rome et la Renaissance de l’antiquité à la fin du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Fontemoing, 1912). In 1914 he published an essay and bibliographical account on the topic. See Louis Hautecoeur, “Les origines de l’art Empire,” Revue des études napoléoniennes 3 (March-April 1914):145- 61; and idem, “Etudes sur l’art du Premier Empire,” ibid., July-August 1914): 122-37. See also François Benoît, L’art français sous la Révolution et l’Empire: Les doctrines, les idées, les genres (Paris: L.-H. May, 1897).

6.See Pierre de Nolhac, La Création de Versailles, d’après les sources inédites: Études sur les origins et les premières transformations du château et des jardins (Versailles: L.Bernard, 1901): and idem, Le Château de Versailles sous Louis XV: recherches sur l’histoire de la cour et sur les travaux des batiments du roi (Paris: Champion, 1898). De Nolhac presented a course in the art of Versailles at the École du Louvre during the academic year 1910-11.

7.See especially Marcel Poëte, L’Enfance de Paris: Formation et croissance de la ville des origins jusqu’à Philippe-Auguste (Paris: Colin, 1908); and idem, La transformation de Paris sous le Second Empire (Paris: P. Dupont, 1910). For the call slips for these texts, see FLC B2-20-390 and B2-20-414. In the interim Poëte had published a popular text that synthesized the history of the city. See Philippe Duboy, “Bibliothèque Nationale: Paris, 1915,” in Le Corbusier: une enyclopédie ed. Jacques Lucan (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, 1987): 75. For information about Poëte, see Donatella Calabi, Parigi anni venti: Marcel Poëte e le origini della storia urbana (Venice: Marsilio, 1997), translated as Marcel Poëte et le Paris des années vingt: Aux origines de “l’histoire des villes,” trans. Pierre Savy (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998).

8.Poëte thanked Le Corbusier for the invitation to the conference on the Ville contemporaine pour trois millions d’habitants. Later he wrote to thank him again for sending a copy of his texts Urbanisme and L’Art décoratif d’aujourd’hui. See Poëte to LC, 20 December 1922, 1 July 1925, and 27 October 1925, FLC A2-11-20, F2-14- 275, and 276.

9.See Marcel Poëte, Paris durant la grande Epoque Classique (Paris: Dupont, 1911). See also idem, Promenades et jardins (depuis le XVe siècle jusqu’à 1830), exhib. cat. (Paris: Dupont, 1913). This source concentrated on the Jardins des Plantes of the Luxembourg and the Royal Palace during the seventeenth century, using the former as the primary model; two years later Jeanneret focused on four Parisian engravings by Pérelle, one of which also represented the Jardin des Plantes.

10.See Kevin L. Justus, “Louis XV and Versailles: Selective Patrimony in the French Third Republic, Pierre de Nolhac and the Formation of a Scholarly Tradition,” Ph.D. diss., University of Arizona, 1991, pp. 39-88.

11.Sec Antonio Brucculeri, “Dal rigore scientifico all’impegno culturale: Louis Hautecoeur e le mostre di storia dell’architettura francese a Strasburgo e Parigi, 1922-1923,” Annali della Scuoa Normale Superiore di Pisa, ser. 4, no. 2 (1999): 595-613.

12.The ironic appellation, cité future, rather than ville contemporaine, comes from Vaillat himself. See Léandre Vaillat, “Au Salon d’Automne,” Bâtiment et Travaux Publics 18, no. 45 (7 December 1922), in newspaper clipping file, FLC X1-2-81.

13.[au train dont va le monde, songeons que tel qui se dit moderne, maintenant, avec orgueil, sera plus rapidement ridicule et démodé que ces maîtres de jadis], idem, “L’Architecture française aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siécles,” Bâtiment et Travaux Publics 19, no. 8 (28 January 1923).

14.For more on the deterioration of relations between Perret and Le Corbusier, see Giovanni Fanelli and Roberto Gargiani, Perret e Le Corbusier: Confronti (Bari-Rome: Laterza, 1990): 137-60.

15.See Bruno Reichlin, “Für und wider das Langfenster: Die Kontroverse Perret-Le Cor busier,” Daidalos 13 (1984): 65-77.

16.See LC, “Perret par Le Corbusier,” L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui 3, no. 7 (1932): 8.

17.Perret’s opinions are contemporary with those of Le Corbusier. See Auguste Perret, “Architecture et poésie,” La Construction Moderne 48, no. 2 (12 October 1932): 2-3, quoted in Joseph Abram, Perret et l’Ecole du classicisme structurel (Villers-lès-Nancy: CEMPA, 1985), 2:32-34.

18.Sec CEJ, “Le Renouveau dans l’architecture,” L’Oeuvre 1, no. 2 (1914): 33-37, quoted in Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, La Construction des villes: Genèse et devenir d’un ouvrage écrit de 1910 à 1915 et laissé inachevé par Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris dit Le Corbusier, ed. Marc E. Albert Emery (Paris-Héricourt: Editions L’Age d’Homme, 1992): 186-89.

19.It was Hautecoeur, editor in chief of the journal, who contacted Le Corbusier on the subject. See Hautecoeur to LC, 15 November 1922, FLC A2-11-25. See also Paul Lafollye to LC, 9 March 1923, FLC A2-11-60. Lafollye was originally commissioned by the editorial board to write the article about plans for the Ville contemporaine; he asked Le Corbusier himself to suggest some one competent to write the article.

20.[sans doute objectera-t-on la monotonie de ces avenues rectilignes. Nos perspectives rectilignes n’attirent-elles pas cependant les étrangers et ne forcent-elles pas l’admiration: rue de Rivoli, les Champs-Elysées, la place Vendôme, la place des Vosges, la rue Royale], Raymond Cogniat, “Une conception nouvelle de l’urbanisme,” L’Architecture 36, no. 15 (1923): 229. Cogniat had already responded favorably to Le Corbusier’s plans. See “En Attendant,” a newspaper clipping dated December 1922, FLC X1-2-96.

21.For a summary of the discussion begun by Teige, see Alena Kubova, “Le Mundaneum, erreur architecturale?” in Le Corbusier: Le Passé à réaction poétique, exhib. cat., Hôtel de Sully (Paris: Caisse nationale des Monuments historiques et des Sites – Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, 1988): 48-53.

22.He consulted the Pérelle collection, “Places, portes, fontaines, églises et maisons de PARIS,” Cabinet des Estampes, BN, Vc 15, in-fol., but there are no traces of graphic or written notations taken from this work. For the call slip, see FLC B2-20-441. Jeanneret consulted another work by Pérelle, “Vues de France et d’Italie,” Cabinet des Estampes, BN, Ve 16, in-fol. For the call slip, see FLC B2-20-442.

23.Jeanneret named each element, one by one, built along the bridge’s axis, pointing them out in a series of letters. For the sketch, see FLC B2-20-248; for the engraving by Pérelle, see Cabinet des Estampes, BN, Ed.76.c: 56.

24.[admirable image de bosquets taillés avec bassins profonds, palissades, allées etc. (très plastique)], See drawing by Jeanneret, FLC B2-20-256.

25.[gravures représentant les jardins de Lenôtre [sic], prises à vol d’oiseau] [pénètre-t-on dans la maison, voilà les volumes qui agissent, qui se rythment, qui s’éclairent ou s’obscurent , qui se colorent intensément, violemment ou délicatement. Ainsi quand on pénètre dans les jardin de Lenôtre], handwritten note by Jeanneret, FLC B2-20-47.

26.In drawing up a balance sheet of the development of the garden in France, Jeanneret observed: “le parallelisme d[an]s la conception de l’architecte et d[an]s celle du jardinier” (the parallels between the concept of architect and that of gardener) that emerged during the period of Claude Mollet, emphasizing the “mise en valeur des terrains par des multiples aménagements qui attirent l’oeil sans le fatiguer” (value of the landscapes conveyed through multiple layouts that tirelessly attract the eye); see Jeanneret’s handwritten notations, FLC B2-20-370.

27.Jeanneret carefully studied the plates included in the chapter on bosquets in the text by D’Argenville; see especially the drawings FLC 82-20-258 and 82-20-259, in which several of the figures in plates 6C and 7C, 8C and 9C, respectively, in D’Argenville are reexamined. In FLC B2-20-259 Jeanneret depicted a detail of the palisades percées en arcades; D’Argenville had made a three-dimensional drawing of the map of a cloître en galerie (plate 9C, fig. 4); see also Claude Malécot, “Les Jardins,” in Le Corbusier: Le Passé (1988): 110-18, Malécot reproduces a few of these drawings and only transcribes these annotations.

28.[qui joue av[ec] les parterres unis], FLC 2180, published in Malécot , “Les Jardins” (1988): 118, fig. 242.

29.See the folio of drawings by Jeanneret, FLC B2-20-255. Of particular interest is the small drawing on the lower right of the fountain of Latone, in which the groups of bosquets acquire still stronger chiaroscuro tones.

30.[le prestige de Louis XIV est grand à cause de Versailles d’aujourd’hui [sic] et non à cause d’une disparue merveille dont les récits coloriés pourraient bien nous paraître sauces de courtisans]. ibid.

31.[Les grandes allées – aujourd’hui, nefs de cathédrales grandioses, sont d’innombrables petites bandes de marronniers au bout d’un baton – [ … ] à Clagny, à Sceaux comme à Versailles on a vu grand et pour l’avenir], ibid.

32.These drawings are FLC B2-20-256 and B2-20-242.

33.[un homme n’a que deux yeux à 1 m. 70 du sol, et qui ne fixent qu’un point à la fois. Les bras des étoiles ne sont visibles que l’un après l’autre et c’est une droite sous une frondaison. Une droite n’est pas une étoile; les étoiles s’effondrent. Et tout ainsi de suite; le grand bassin, les parterres de broderies qui sont hors d’une vision d’ensemble, les batiments qu’on ne voit que par fragments et en se déplaçant. C’est le leurre, l’illusion. Louis XIV s’est trompé sous sa propre instigation. Il a transgressé les verités de l’architecture car il n’a pas procédé avec les éléments objectifs de l’architecture], LC, Vers une architecture (1923; reprint, Paris: Flammarion, 1995): 158-59.

34.Ibid., 46. For the first appearance of the drawing of the rue à redents, see Le Corbusier-Saugnier [pseud.], “Trois rappels à MM. les architects. 3e article,” L’Esprit nouveau 4 (1921): 469.

35.For Geneva, see FLC 23318; and Patrick Devanthéry and Inès Lamunière, “S.D.N. Un Palais moderne?”, in Le Corbusier à Genève, 1922-1932: Projets et realisations, ed. Isabelle Charollais and André Ducret, exhib. cat., lmmeuble Clarté et Galerie Bonnier, Geneva (Lausanne: Payot, 1987): 17-34. The allusion to the Palais de Versailles for this project seems to extend and reinforce a prominent reference by Le Corbusier to the culture of French classicism beyond World War I, with its implications concerning the defeat of Germany.

36.[A voir les estampes de Pérelle on trouve un Paris si peu ordonné, si pittoresque, si sale, qu’on s’imagine le désir de nettoyer, et aussi la quasi impuissance de réaliser un ensemble car tout sera à refaire, quais, maisons, etc. Palais, clochetons, pignons, flèches, lanternes etc. On comprend que Louis XIV ait fichu le camp à Versailles Ville neuve], Jeanneret’s notation on FLC 82-20-84. In discussing Le Bernin en France, les travaux du Louvre et les statues de Louis XIV by L. Mirot (Nogent-le-Rotrou: Impr. de Daupeley-Gouverneur, 1904), Jeanneret invoked Bernini’s disdain for Parisian architecture in support of his personal views about the city in the late seventeenth century: “J’ai l’impression que Paris est plus beau aujourd’hui qu’avant. Pas étonnant, quand on voit d[an]s les grav[ures] de Pérelle le Paris chaotique, morcelé,” (I have the impression that Paris is more beautiful today than before, which is nor surprising when one sees Pérelle’s engravings of a chaotic, divided Paris), Jeanneret’s notation on FLC B2-20-45.

37.It is significant that the series of drawings after Pérelle’s engravings showing Paris as their subject ends with a landscape drawn in perspective of the courtyard of the Palais de Versailles; see FLC B2-20-242. Jeanneret speaks of courage and hardiesse, underscoring the completion of these urban episodes “en pleine campagne ou banlieue” (in the open countryside or suburbs) —including Versailles. See the handwritten note on drawing FLC B2-20-504.

38.Jacques-François Blondel, Discours sur la nécessité de l’étude de l’architecture (Paris, 1754); and idem, Discours sur la manière d’étudier l’architecture et les arts qui sont relatifs à celui de bastir (Paris, 1747). See Jeanneret’s handwritten list of works consulted, FLC B2-20-53. With respect to the Architecture françoise, Jeanneret emphasized the concern for understanding the history of the monuments of Paris, but not for his own studies into the city (see FLC B2-20-2 and 3). Blondel’s influence on certain aspects of Le Corbusier’s private architecture has been investigated; see Monique Eleb-Vidal, “Hôtel particulier,” in Le Corbusier: une encyclopédie (1987): 174-76. Jeanneret was also interested, however, in the more eccentric aspects of the architectural culture of the period, such as the work of Meissonnier, d’Oppenord and, above all, Antoine Le Pautre. See the handwritten list cited above and Duboy, “Ch.-E. Jeanneret à la Bibliothèque Nationale” (1979): 11.

39.See H. Allen Brooks, “Jeanneret and Sitte: Le Corbusier’s Earliest Ideas on Urban Design,” in In Search of Modern Architecture: A Tribute to Henry-Russell Hitchcock, ed. Helen Searing (Cambridge, Mass., and London: MIT Press, 1982): 278-97. See also the transcription of Jeanneret’s manuscript in Emery, La Construction (1992). For a succinct account of this work by Jeanneret, see idem, “Urbanisme: Premières réflexions: le manuscrit inédit de ‘La Construction des villes,’” in Le Corbusier: une encyclopédie (1987): 432-35.

40.See Werner Oechslin, “Allemagne. Influences, confluences et reniements,” in Le Corbusier: une encyclopédie (1987): 33-39. In 1915 Jeanneret continued to make explicit reference to Brinckmann’s work in his drawing of a circular system for a Place Louis XV; see FLC B2-20-328.

41.For a preliminary presentation that assesses several of Jeanneret’s drawings and Patte’s engraved plates, see Philippe Duboy, “L.C.B.N. 1.9.1.5.,” Casabella 51, nos. 531/532 (1987): 94-103. Jeanneret disregarded the historical interpretation of Patte’s work, defining it as an “ouvrage de courtisan d[an]s son avant-propos” (work by a courtesan in the introduction), FLC B2-20-62. Interest immediately turned to the projects that were presented; see Jeanneret’s handwritten notation on FLC B2-20-111. This did not deflect from his interest in the history of that period, especially with regard to Paris. See C. Piton, Paris sous Louis XV. Rapports des inspecteurs de police au Roi, 5 vols. (Paris: Mercure de France, 1910-14); see also FLC B2-20-46.

42.Jeanneret studied the map of Valenciennes and noted the irregularities of access, eventually reinterpreting the general view in Patte’s plates, in a drawing that reflected the thinking about modularity and repetition of the elements. See Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): pls. 18 and 19; see also drawing FLC B2-20-241.

43.[enchainement d’édifices remarquables, dont la Place du Roi pouvoit passer pour le centre], Jeanneret’s notation on drawing FLC B2-20-251; see also Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): 178.

44.[bâtiments décorés uniformément aux dépenses du Roy] [sic] Notation on drawing reworked by Jeanneret, FLC B2-20-229; after Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): pl. 24.

45.[Rien n’est si beau et rien s’annoncc avec plus de majesté que cet edifice. Le rez-de-chaussée est ouvert et conduit à un jardin public], ibid.

46.See drawing FLC B2-20-281, after an engraving by Jacques Caillot in 1624, and the later drawing of a map drawn by Jeanneret, FLC B2-20-335, reproduced in H. Allen Brooks, Le Corbusier’s Formative Years: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret at La Chaux-De-Fonds (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997): 406, fig. 334.

47.Sec FLC B2-20-250, and Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): pl. 2.

48.See Marcel Poëte, La Promenade à Paris au XVlle siècle, L’art de se promener, Les lieux de promenade dans la ville et aux environs (Paris: Colin, 1913): 3.

49.See drawing B2-20-250, FLC. Jeanneret addressed the reading of the elements in detail—the “guérites très décorées” (well-decorated sentry boxes), but also the “4 pavillons (cours de la reine et l’autre, pour fontainiers, gardes er portiers)” (4 pavilions [the queen’s path and the other, for fountain attendants, guards and doormen])—from the drawings in Patte’s work which he reworked in later drawings. See Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): pls. 7 and 8; and Jeanneret’s drawing FLC B2-20-247.

50.Sec Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): 71, and Jeanneret’s drawing FLC B2-20-228, reproduced in Brooks, Formative Years (1997): 407, fig. 335.

51.[Le sentiment du volume si puissant aux époques antérieures a disparu au XIXe siècle. Le “classicisme” de cette période n’a voulu retenir du passé que les lignes qu’il avait employées pour s’exprimer; il en a perdu l’esprit. Hypnotysés par les souvenirs majestueux du Louis XIV et du Louis XV, nos édiles ont constellé les villes de places en étoile ou en carré avec monument au milieu géometrique, sous pretexte que les formes splendides transmises par le XVIle et le XVIIIe siècle n’étaient point autres. Appliquant la formule sèche et aride, ils oublient l’art, c’est-a-dire, qu’ils ne se soucièrent ni de volume, ni de contrastes, ni “d’échelle humaine”; en un mot, ils ignorèrent la corporalité], Quoted in Emery, La Construction (1992): 126-27.

52.See Jeanneret’s drawing FLC B2-20-249, and the map from which it was taken in Patte, Monumens érigés en France (1765): pl. 39.

53.[ … nouvelle cathédrale à la place dauphine, colossale] [g[ran]d escalier tout direct sur pont neuf], Jeanneret’s drawing FLC B2-20-249.

54.[Thèse intéressante: dans Louis XV, on voit ce qu’on sait prévoir (Patte). Tout s’ouvrait, respirait, prenait de l’ampleur. Mais aujourd’hui cela serait d’un mode inutilisable puisque pour vivre, ces places doivent avoir d’étroits embouchements de rues etc. Aujourd’hui il en faut d’énormes, il faut quantité d’autres facteurs: créons donc en rapport, avec autant de hardiesse!], handwritten notation by Jeanneret on drawing FLC B2-20-162.