3 Pages

Paris again – architects and artists

WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter, the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author was fascinated by the idea of great artists working with architects to integrate their work into fine modern buildings. Picasso's Guernica in the Spanish Republic Pavilion of the 1937 Paris World Exposition seemed brilliant and exemplary, but a 'one-off' forged in the intensity of historic catastrophe. However, he had also seen photographs of a church building at Assy opposite the Mont Blanc, where Leger, Lipchitz, Braque and Bonnard, and some less-known artists, had contributed to the building. Some of them, as well as younger artists, collaborated on another church by the same dull, 'official' architect, Maurice Novarina. They were rare examples of major artists involved in the making of a public space. The moving spirit in all this was the gaunt yet friendly Marie-Alain Couturier, a Dominican friar in Paris.