PURISM
The manifesto of Purism, the work of Amédée Ozenfant and Edouard Jeanneret, who, under the name of Le Corbusier, became one of the great architects of the twentieth century, was published in 1918 under the title After Cubism. Ozenfant and Jeanneret maintained in this work that having laid a solid theoretical foundation for the art of painting, Cubism seemed to forsake its initial discipline to revert to a kind of Impressionism, and in particular to indulge in decorative art. Their aim was to restore in to soundness. Purism wished to forbid in painting all fantasy and preciosity, with a view to restoring objects to their architectural simplicity and their authenticity. As a plastic symbol the Purists adopted the machine, an object of absolute perfection because all trappings unnecessary to its function are eliminated. Purist works were therefore to reject every accident harmful to the architectural balance of form. Moreover, the composition of a Purist picture required absolute objectivity; any too individualistic touch was to be rejected. It was in the magazine Élan ( 1915) and then in L'Esprit Nouveau ( 1920- 1925) that Purist theories were developed and opposed to the various aesthetic doctrines current at the time. However, Purism led to no development in painting, no doubt because of its excess of rigour. Only in the architecture of Le Corbusier and his disciples did these theories find a valid field of application (cf. articles on Le Corbusier, Ozenfant and Esprit Nouveau).
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