Rare Les Mains Tapestry

Le Corbusier and the Revival of Tapesty as Art

Le Corbusier, along with Picasso, Miró, Matisse and Braque, played a significant role in the mid-century revival of tapestry as art. Working with the Picaud workshop in Aubusson and the Pinton workshop in Felletin, Le Corbusier designed approximately thirty tapestries during his career. His first tapestry was made at the request of the collector Marie Cuttoli in 1936 and then in 1948 he started collaboration with Pierre Baudouin at Aubusson.

Le Corbusier found that tapestry added an element of warmth and texture to an interior and he incorporated their use in many of his projects, most notably the High Court of Chandigarh, where colorful and abstract woven masterworks covered the walls of the courtrooms. For Le Corbusier, tapestry design was not only an art form for public spaces but also for domestic interiors. The nomadic nature of the medium appealed to the architect and designer, as apartment living, communal services and moving between homes, neighborhoods, and countries was a sign of modern times. He explains, “This wall of wool that is tapestry can be taken down from the wall, rolled up under our arms at will and taken to hang elsewhere.”

Expertly executed in small editions, Le Corbusier’s tapestry designs offer a poetic reflection of the harmony between organic and structured forms. The Les Mains tapestry offered here was designed in 1951 for Les Ateliers Picaud in Aubusson. One of only five examples, this work illustrates the dynamic line and inventive use of color that define Le Corbusier’s best art, striking a balance between abstraction and figuration.

The destiny of the tapestry of today emerges: it becomes the mural of the modern age.

—Le Corbusier