Art publisher


During my first visit to Paris, I asked Le Corbusier: „Monsieur, il y as des jeunes architectes qui aimeraient acquérir une lithographie de vous. Où est-ce que je peux les trouver?“ „ Monsieur, young architects who would love to have one of your lithographs ask me constantly where can I find one?“ Le Corbusier: „Il y'a des années que j'en ai faites quelques-unes mais ils ne se sont jamais vendues.“ „I made a few some years ago, but they didn't sell.“ „Monsieur, si on ne les expose pas ils ne se vendent pas.“ „If one does not exhibit them, they cannot be sold.“
Le Corbusier listened with interest. After a short pause, he stood up, walked with his long, heavy steps to his small office and picked up the phone. I eavesdropped on his conversation. „C'est vous Fernand, ici est Corbu.“ „Is that you, Fernand? This is Corbu.“ Le Corbusier went on: „Mourlot j'ai ici une jeune fille de la Suisse, elle veut vous faire travailler.“ „Mourlot, there's a young woman from Switzerland here, who wants you to do some work.“ Le Corbusier: „Je veux vous la présenter, je vous invite demain pour le dîner chez le chinois à l'angle du Restaurant La Coupole.“ „I will introduce you to him tomorrow so I'm inviting you to lunch at the Chinese on the corner, Restaurant Coupole.“ In the presence of Mourlot, Le Corbusier praised me as a reputable and energetic person and said he should work with me in the future. Before we had drunk the coffee, I said to Fernand Mourlot: „May I come to your printing shop now?“ Le Corbusier and Mourlot were rather taken aback I took up the offer without further ado. (They probably had a relaxing afternoon in mind.)

Mourlot and I developed an excellent working relationship and produced several thousand sheets featuring some one hundred different subjects by Le Corbusier. He was very happy because I became a very good customer and, as he later told me, I was one of the few who paid immediately. My basement was continually filling with large boxes marked with the sender: Imprimerie Mourlot Paris. I took the risk that the original lithographs would not sell, and I only sold them be means of a lot of work, exhibitions and catalogues. Le Corbusier never gave any thought, not even during this venture, to how I would manage all this alone.