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For other uses, see Purism (disambiguation).

Purism, referring to the arts, was a movement that took place between 1918–1925 that influenced French painting and architecture. Purism was led by Amédée Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). Ozenfant and Le Corbusier created a variation of Cubist movement and called it Purism.[1]

Amédée Ozenfant[edit]

Amédée Ozenfant was the creator (along with Le Corbusier) of Purism. In Susan Ball's book, Ball explains that Purism was an attempt to restore regularity in a war-torn France post World War I [1]

L' Esprit Nouveau[edit]

Ozenfant and Le Corbusier ran an art magazine called L’ Esprit Nouveau spanning from 1920–1925 that was used as propaganda towards their Purist movement [1]

Purist Manifesto[edit]

The Purist Manifesto is worth mentioning because it helps describe rules that Ozenfant and Le Corbusier created to govern the Purist movement.[1]

  • Purism does not intend to be a scientific art, which it is in no sense.
  • Cubism has become a decorative art of romantic ornamentism.
  • There is a hierarchy in the arts: decorative art is at the base, the human figure at the summit.
  • Painting is as good as the intrinsic qualities of its plastic elements, not their representative or narrative possibilities.
  • Purism wants to conceive clearly, execute loyally, exactly without deceits; it abandons troubled conceptions, summary or bristling executions. A serious art must banish all techniques not faithful to the real value of the conception.
  • Art consists in the conception before anything else.
  • Technique is only a tool, humbly at the service of the conception.
  • Purism fears the bizarre and the original. It seeks the pure element in order to reconstruct organized paintings that seem to be facts from nature herself.
  • The method must be sure enough not to hinder the conception.
  • Purism does not believe that returning to nature signifies the copying of nature.
  • It admits all deformation is justified by the search for the invariant.
  • All liberties are accepted in art except those that are unclear.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e TextBall, Susan (1981). Ozenfant and Purism: The Evolution of a style 1915–1930. Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press. p. 213. 


  • Ball, Susan L. Ozenfant and Purism: The Evolution of a Style 1915–1930, Ann Arbor; UMI research Press, 1981. Print

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62 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:26:15 -0700

Moss, by contrast, apprenticed herself to Fernand Léger, then experimenting with the mechanical mode of painting he had dubbed purism. Even this would not be radical enough for Léger's English student. In or about 1928, Moss saw her first Mondrian, and ...
The Desert Sun
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:37:30 -0700

... updated approach regarding the overall income tax infrastructure has been shelved for the current Administrations domestic priorities of Obamacare, climatological purism, and the Don Quixote approach to energy renewables as the ultimate power source.


Thu, 14 Aug 2014 22:04:00 -0700

But I don't think there's any such thing as beauty purism - it's about feeling confident to be a strong woman. A good life radiates beauty: someone who is happy is beautiful. Fragrance can also have the power to make you feel sexy and confident. I have ...

Wiarton Echo

Wiarton Echo
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:18:45 -0700

I have this thing about not wearing shoes. It's an etherial love, some would say - rooted in purism and romanticism more than anything - but I really enjoy it. It may be a red flag to some, what with the population of poison ivy in our area, and the ...
The Quietus
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 02:57:41 -0700

Among those who conveniently forget that hip hop and all its cultural accoutrements have been exported beyond the confines of their neighborhoods and into the rest of the world for decades, a staunch conservatism comes couched in crusading purism, ...


Mon, 11 Aug 2014 08:10:26 -0700

Koolhaas' biennale chose to ignore architects in deference to a typological purism; that what defines architecture is its structural elements, taxonomically organized, and not its designers. The missing keystone is that these structural elements have ...
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 04:15:00 -0700

In other news, one German website published an article about the linguistic purism of the Icelandic language. The article claims that Icelandic has more words than there are Icelanders. And we, the Icelandophile Germans, learn that this is due to the ...

PC Gamer Magazine

PC Gamer Magazine
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 04:15:00 -0700

Both controls and ratio can be toggled at any point during play—thus allowing you to fight out the eternal, desperate battle between purism and convenience. For more, turn to this video, in which Capcom producers Tatsuya Kitabayashi and Yoshiaki ...

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