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An insistence on the traditionally correct way of doing things, especially of language. --Wiktionary

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Purism was a form of Cubism advocated by the French painter Amédée Ozenfant and the architect Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier).


The two objected to developments in Cubist art, particularly the decorative elements. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier wanted a return to more basic forms inspired by modern machinery. To them, the golden ratio was the ideal shape, something that is reflected in their work. The theory of Purism is expounded in the book La peinture moderne, (Paris, 1925), co-written by Ozenfant and Le Corbusier and subsequently published in English as The Foundations of Modern Art.

Purist works are notable in their explicit use of geometric form and large areas of pure colour, and for their cool and detached paint surfaces - both of which prefigure the move towards the 'Hard Edge' style in American painting, with its similar emphasis on absolute definition of form.

Le Corbusier's interest in mechanation and pure proportion persisted into his later architectural endeavours, and the Purist aesthetic as a whole can be seen to have had particular influence on the evolution of modern architecture. The Czech architect and painter Bedřich Feuerstein was also influenced by Purism, as were the Eesti Kunstnike Rühm (Group of Estonian Artists) in Tallinn, whose main members were Arnold Akberg, Mart Laarman, Henrik Olvi, and Juhan Raudsepp. Their journal, "Uue Kunsti Raamat", or "Book of New Art", which appeared in 1928, was strongly influenced by L'Esprit Nouveau and by French Purism's appeal to reason and order.

See also

impurity, purist, pure

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Purism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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