I here declare, for every eventuality, that I leave everything that I possess to an administrative entity, the “Fondation Le Corbusier”, or any other meaningful form, which shall become a spiritual entity, that is, a continuation of the endeavour pursued throughout a lifetime.

Le Corbusier
Note dated 13 January 1960

While still only in his infancy as an architect and budding artist, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret was already at an early age showing a will to achieve ambitious aims and a desire to leave behind him significant traces of his endeavour that would outlast his earthly existence. “Let life be something with a goal and not merely an arrow speeding toward death” he wrote to his parents in 1910.

Having become Le Corbusier, without direct heirs and driven by the fear that his carefully conserved archives and works be scattered after his death, he spent the last fifteen years of his life conceiving and implementing, down to its smallest details, the project of a Foundation that would bear his name.

Already in 1949, he had written, in a letter addressed to his friend Jean-Jacques Duval, for whom he built the Duval factory in Saint-Dié:

One can conk out at any time of life. I’ve been talking about it to my brother who is here on a visit. With my wife’s agreement, I have arranged to leave what I own to the poor.
Now, what I own can at best be used as something to light the fire with. Here at 24 rue Nungesser et Coli (and even at 35 Sèvres in a cellar), I have substantial archives of all kinds: drawings, writings, notes, travel diaries, albums, etc. I don’t want some hooligan happily pillaging it all, and destroying series whose value depends on their being complete.
In other words, we’ll have to take a look at my archives so as to make the most of them (to sell them, or give them to people, institutions or museums).
Conclusion: the aim of this letter is to set you thinking and to request you – when the time comes –to take immediate possession, or rather, immediate control of my archives, so as to protect them from being wrongfully scattered.
And the present letter, with my signature, is to be used as documentary proof, for whatever purpose it may serve.

With my friendship and my gratitude.

Le Corbusier, L'Atelier de la recherche patiente, p.93, 20th july 1962

Brochure published for the official opening of the Foundation's premises, 23rd October 1970
Taureau XIII, oil on canvas, 1956
André Wogenscky and Le Corbusier at Orly, 1958
Le Corbusier, typewritten note, 13th January 1960, page 2
Bernard Anthonioz, Jean Prouvé, Eugène Claudius-Petit and Le Corbusier, studio at 35 rue de Sèvres, Paris, january 1964
Photo : Lucien Hervé