Heidi Weber and Le Corbusiers Tapestries

In February 1959, Le Corbusier gave Heidi Weber for her first sale exhibition, three paintings, ten aquarell-pastells and the two impressive tapestries “Les Musiciennes” and “Les Mains”.

Heidi Weber was fascinated by the tapestries with their great compositions and colours. As she shared Le Corbusier’s progressive ideas for living, she immediately recognised the quality of these transportable wall-paintings of wool.
Heidi Weber was able to draw on her considerable experience as an interior designer for the placement of the tapestries. In spite of her skills, the tapestries proved difficult to sell because of their size and their striking vibrancy. Collectors would have to have the courage to try something new.

The high costs of production and the narrow profit margin on these hand-manufactured products from Aubusson complicated this further. This is why these pieces were rarely sold in the Parisian galleries.

This situation changed when Heidi Weber accepted these ‘wall nomads’.

Le Corbusier asked her to dedicate herself particularly to these tapestries, as their creation was very important to him. Heidi Weber realized that this large size was best suited to public spaces; this was very important to her, as the tapestries could seen by the wider public. Art, in her opinion, shouldn’t be left on its own in a warehouse; it should be made accessible to as many people as possible.

During a time period of about twenty years, she was able to place a total of thirty-six tapestries in private and public 162 buildings. Max Altdorfer, the Director of the Department for Cultural Affairs in the Swiss Confederation, helped her to ‘place’ these tapestries. He was very much appreciative of Le Corbusier’s genius and of Heidi Weber’s enthusiasm. Humorously, he noted that the Confederation had more than enough grey walls for Le Corbusier’s monumental wall pictures. As a result of this cooperation, twelve tapestries went into the Swiss Confederacy buildings. The tapestry “Présence II / ou garder ton aile dans ma main” hangs in the reception area of the Swiss Embassy in London.

She was courageous, she was ahead of her time, unconventional, determined and, above all, she was highly dedicated.

She produced many of the larger sizes to be woven without any guarantee of sale because her conviction in the art work was greater than business principles and she was willing to take the risk.

Heidi Weber curated exhibitions encompassing the entire tapestry collection: in 1962 entitled “Muralnomads” in her Studio “mezzanin” and, in 1990, in the Heidi Weber Museum, “Le Corbusier – Muralnomades”. The tapestries hung particularly impressively here in the last building of steel and glass which was designed by Le Corbusier.

In addition to these exhibitions, Heidi Weber lent also tapestries from her collection to many national and international museums for their exhibitions, the latest, to the Madrid “Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia” in 2007.

As recognition for her work, Le Corbusier gave Heidi Weber in 1964 the exclusive production and distribution rights for his tapestries for 30 years.
164 This recognition was a great satisfaction for her as this reconfirmed his complete trust in her.