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Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer, National Museum, 1999, Brasília. Photo: Leonardo Finotti.

JEAN-LOUIS COHEN

LONG BEFORE I LAST VISITED Oscar Niemeyer, ten years ago, he had established his studio in a building on Avenida Atlântica, at the southern end of the Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. Here he designed his projects on a small drawing table, enjoying a plunging view onto the beach and the bathers just across the road. The space also included a small studiolo without any windows, its walls lined with shelves sagging under the weight of books and souvenirs. The lowest held a Marcel Gautherot photograph of nude women lying on the beach, an undulation of breasts and hips. Directly above was an edition of the selected works of Joseph Stalin, with a cover bearing a likeness of its mustached author. The chance superposition of the facial hair of the Bolshevik leader over the pubic hair of the bathers struck me as a perfect allegory for two of the three passions that

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