Before moving on to a discussion of the idealised view of womanhood represented in Le Corbusier's art and architecture it is necessary to gain a picture of his deal- ings with real women: women whom he saw in the crowd; his clients; those friends, colleagues and lovers with whom he surrounded himself. Only then will it be possible to ascertain whether he really was inter- ested in promoting women and what they stood for.
Photographs taken by Rene Burri of Le Corbusier's apartment in 24 Rue Nungesser et Coli show a pin board on the wall covered in images of his wife and mother, both of whom he loved dearly (Fig. 1.1). Le Corbusier wrote to his mother that he was an 'infinit- ely sentimental being (contrary to appearances)'.1 He was also a very private man. Little is known of his personal life though more and more is seeping into the public realm.2 The focus of this chapter is Le
Figure 1.1 Pinboard in Le Corbusier's penthouse, 24 Rue Nungesser et Coli.
Corbusier's evident love for women and the pleasure he seems to have derived from their company.3 His relationships with women would have a direct influ- ence upon his work.
Jeanneret-Perret: his mother
According to Jane Drew, Le Corbusier's love for his mother Marie Charlotte Amélie Jeanneret-Perret (Fig. 1.2) 'was a very great force in his life'.4 At the inau- guration of the chapel at Ronchamp the presiding bishop drew attention to Le Corbusier's dedication to his mother - a 'woman of courage and faith' - at the beginning of Le Corbusier's book When the Cathedrals were White, suggesting that she occupied some primary role in his creativity.5 Le Corbusier wrote, in response