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Drawing, First Studies for the Villa Stein-de Monzie, Garches, France

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris). It is dated 1926 and we acquired it in 1936. Its medium is graphite on white paperboard, mounted on canvas. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

These working sketches played an essential role in the collaborative design process between architect Le Corbusier and his clients, modern art collectors Michael and Sarah Stein and their friend Gabrielle de Monzie, and, significantly, led historians to question previously held assumptions about the building. The drawing reflects many changes in the design’s development; the architect shifted from a symmetrical to asymmetrical plan with an extra bedroom for de Monzie’s daughter, and placed the living quarters in de Monzie’s section of the house with garage and kitchen near the Steins’ area. These changes suggest de Monzie, whose name appears on the project contract and invoices, may have had more design control than the Steins, despite their strong interest in avant-garde architecture. The rational, geometric house was completed in 1927, and for decades scholars compared its rhythmic structural bays and volume to Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio’s villas. However, when historians rediscovered this drawing in the mid-1980s, some determined instead that the house’s form derived from programmatic requirements—the need for a multifamily home—and Le Corbusier’s thinking about other commissions. Understanding the architect’s process and his relationship with clients is difficult, and as shown by the scholarship around this drawing, it is also ongoing task.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Gertrude Stein's Brother Collects Architecture.

It is credited Museum purchase from James B. Ford and Peter Cooper Hewitt Estate Funds.

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Its dimensions are

31.9 x 24.1 cm (12 9/16 x 9 1/2 in.)

It is signed

See inscriptions

It is inscribed

1936-60-1 through 1936-60-8-2 (formerly -60-8b) originally mounted together on canvas, since separated. Inscription remains between 1936-60-8-1 (formerly -60-8a) and 1936-60-8-2 (formerly -60-8b), but applies to all nine pieces. Inscribed in pen in black ink, on left: Premiers croquis fait/ en 1926/ (Album à dessin)/ en septembre dans/ la propriéte/ "Le Lac"/ au bord du/ lac Léman: and on right: villa Stein/ à Garches/ achevée en 1927/ Le Corbusier (underlined).

Cite this object as

Drawing, First Studies for the Villa Stein-de Monzie, Garches, France; Designed by Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret-Gris) (Swiss, active France, 1887–1965); France; graphite on white paperboard, mounted on canvas; 31.9 x 24.1 cm (12 9/16 x 9 1/2 in.); Museum purchase from James B. Ford and Peter Cooper Hewitt Estate Funds; 1936-60-1

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, First Studies for the Villa Stein-de Monzie, Garches, France |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 June 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>