On 13 January1960 Le Corbusier sent a note on the setting up of the "Fondation Le Corbusier", addressed to "M. Ouvré, le principal de l’étude de Me Maguet, M. Gabriel Chéreau, M. A. P. Ducret". A copy was also sent to Bernard Anthonioz, Head of the Department of Artistic Creation and a member of André Malraux’s Cabinet.
This is a true intellectual testament, condensing into one document all his exchanges with the group of friends and experts he had brought together for the project.

The only possible basis for the "Fondation Le Corbusier" is a statute defining the Foundation’s programme, its material existence, its intentions, its resources, etc... A Foundation is perhaps not the ideal form (? !). Here are my intentions :


It is more than a year now since I took the decision to draw up the statutes of this Foundation and to define my personal attitude to the assets of all kinds that the statutes may bring to the future Foundation.
Meanwhile, I have seen M. La Roche. An art enthusiast of the very highest order, he put together between 1922 et 1925, with my help, the La Roche Cubist collection, which has since become so famous that its owner has already made arrangements that are characteristic of him. He has donated a third of it to the Musée du Louvre, another third to the museum in Basel, the remaining third being for the moment in his house at Square du Docteur Blanche.
On an amicable, generous and perfectly natural footing, it was thus agreed that, as a bachelor with no direct heirs, he would donate his house to the "Fondation Le Corbusier", so that this house should become part of the Foundation’s assets and be used as its Paris office. (Let me make it clear here that no legal tie with the remaining third of his collection is to be assumed).

(It should be pointed out here that Maison La Roche in the Square du Docteur Blanche was built between 1923 and 1925, by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. A direct consequence of this was the building of Maison Savoye in Poissy, in 1928. The latter has since come to be considered as the decisive manifesto in the emergence of modern architecture after the First World War. This was confirmed by the Minister for Cultural Affairs in 1959, when he classified Maison Savoye at Poissy as an historical monument. This was a spontaneous gesture on M. André Malraux’s part, subsequent to the expropriation of the villa, which was thus threatened with demolition. In the space of a few days, two hundred and fifty telegrams came pouring on to the Minister’s desk from all over the world to protest against the vandalism of possible demolition. I myself knew nothing of this, being away in India at the time).


The "Fondation Le Corbusier" will in no way be condemned to living from hand to mouth. At my death it will be rich in indisputable values, both material and financial:

A/ - My house on the shores of Lac Léman, "Le Lac"; A1/ my home at N° 24 rue Nungesser et Coli, 7th and 8th floors ; and A2/ my little property at Cap Martin.

B/ - Paintings of the Cubist school: Picasso, Braque, Léger, together with a large number of first rate Bauchants; in addition, Le Corbusier’s pictorial work (deliberately kept in the dark for thirty years), made up of numerous large pictures and thousands of drawings.
(Without Le Corbusier having had to attend to the question, the important museums and collections already own paintings by him:
1/ Two years ago, the Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris opened a room to house paintings, the "Salle Permanente Le Corbusier", adjacent to that of Picasso, Braque, Léger, Matisse, Rouault, etc… 2/ the Modern Art Museum in New York ; 3/ the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam ; 4/ the Tate Gallery in London (= England’s Museum of Contemporary Art) ; 5/ the Modern Art Museum in Sao Paulo in Brazil ; 6/ the Museum in Basel ; 7/ the Museum in Zurich. Paintings by Le Corbusier also figure in private collections […]. Substantial international exhibitions organized by art collectives have been touring the world continuously since 1948, in capital cities in Europe, America, Japan, etc…, linking Le Corbusier’s pictorial endeavour with his architectural endeavour).

C / - There remain the archives of the Le Corbusier Atelier, which have been kept at 35 rue de Sèvres since 1922. These are made up of an enormous mass of plans of all kinds produced over a period of forty years (published in the Girsberger series in six volumes).

D/ - In recent years, the most important publishers have brought out numerous studies on the work accomplished by Le Corbusier during his career. Mme Helena Strassova, L-C’s literary agent, is actively engaged in finding publishers for his new books, in reprinting earlier ones and in publishing translations in five or six different languages. More than fifty books by L-C have come out. The royalties already received and those due to be paid represent considerable assets for the Foundation.

E/ - There remain lastly, as material and financial assets at the time of my demise, what may have been left at the bottoms of drawers or what exists in the form of letters of credit, fees, bank accounts, etc….

F/ - To end with, there are more than 20,000 photographs in the possession of M. Lucien Hervé, photographer, representing a huge and decisive fund of documents.


Aim of the Foundation :

a) To prevent these multiple assets from becoming at the time of my death the prey of bailiffs, lawyers and would-be heirs. I no longer have any direct heir. My family, the Jeannerets, will completely die out on the male side with the deaths of my elder brother, Albert Jeanneret, of myself and my cousin, Rudolf Jeanneret, Professor at the University of Bern and President of the School of Dentistry in Bern.

My life has been made up of intense contacts with the needs of the time and taking part in its struggles (in worldwide-localised terms) and therefore of contacts and struggles with individuals of great potential, encountered outside the family circle. For more than twenty years I have filed with Me Maguet’s firm a series of wills which have changed according to circumstances. I here declare, for every eventuality, that I leave everything 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.

3°/ How is this Foundation to be made a reality? By the securing of all my assets, these to be managed by a Foundation Committee made up of certain friends, coming from different backgrounds but all having understanding of my life’s endeavour.

4°/ What may I hope for and what may I wish for from the men of law, notaries and lawyers?

a) Firstly, to set out the moral, material et administrative statutes of the "Fondation Le Corbusier",

b) by a suitable legal deed, straightforwardly, simply, without complications, to receive the donation made by my friend La Roche - this has only an episodic role to play, i.e. to give the protection of my name to that little house, a milestone in my work known the world over, one that was visited every Tuesday and Friday up to the time of Hitler by a substantial mass of partisans,

c) to enable, administratively speaking, the making of certain donations before my death.

Le Corbusier then added a little "sticker" on which were noted the following:

Social aim:

To bring together and conserve after his death the writings, paintings, drawings, engravings, tapestries, collections and personal objects that belonged to Le Corbusier.

To place at the disposal of all those who should wish to consult them the records of LE CORBUSIER’S work and research.

To take all the necessary steps, in particular that of ensuring suitable premises, for the fulfilment of the above-mentioned social aim, in conditions of the utmost dignity and absolute independence.

To set up a "Le Corbusier Travelling Bursary", so as to encourage the efforts of qualified young people.

From then on, it was this text that was to serve as a basis for drawing up the Foundation’s statutes.

Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, coverage
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 1
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 27
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 37
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 38
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 39
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 41
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 42
Sketchbook S67, Paris, june 1962, page 57
Handwritten note of Le Corbusier, 3rd january 1963
André Wogenscky and Le Corbusier at Orly, 1958
Note on the setting up of the "Fondation Le Corbusier", 13th january 1960, page 1
Note on the setting up of the "Fondation Le Corbusier", 13th january 1960, page 2
Note on the setting up of the "Fondation Le Corbusier", 13th january 1960, page 3
Handwritten testament of Le Corbusier, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, 30th august 1962
Setting up of the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, from L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, october 1970
Setting up of the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, from La Montagne, 15th november 1970