Eileen Gray, a major figure in 20th century design and architecture
Eileen Gray (1878-1976) was a leading figure prominent figure in 20th century architecture and design. She is one of the of these disciplines with Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), whose taste for she shared a taste for innovation and independence. Beginning as a painter, Eileen Gray painting, Eileen Gray gradually turned to arts and crafts, decoration and decoration and interior design, before designing innovative architectural projects architectural projects for her time. Eileen Gray’s work is abundant. This is why we have chosen to explain how this free spirit embraced the transformations of her time free spirit embraced the transformations in design and architecture at the turn of the the 1920s, a pivotal period in which a renewal of architectural ideas was architectural ideas.
Eileen Gray, whose real name was Kathleen Eileen Moray Smith, was born on 9 August 1878 in Enniscorthy in the South East of Ireland, in a very Victorian family environment. She soon developed an independent independent temperament and decided to enter the Slade School of Fine Art (art department of University College London) in 1901. In 1902, she returned to returned to Paris where she had seen the 1900 Universal Exhibition. She then attended at the Académie Colarossi and the Académie Julian. She settled in Paris in Paris in 1907 where she studied lacquering under the direction of the master japanese-born, naturalized French master lacquerer and sculptor, Seizo Sugawara.
Gradually, Eileen Gray perfected her skills and made lacquer panels and carpets (she learns to dye and weave) which she markets in 2 workshops. In art Deco period, her panels of lacquer and rare wood attracted the eye of art collector Jacques Doucet: her career was launched. From 1919 to 1924, Eileen Gray was entrusted with the decoration of the flat of Madame Mathieu Lévy (Suzanne Talbot), rue de Lota in Paris. Suzanne Talbot was then an influential figure in the Paris fashion world.
With the 1920s, Art Deco declines. A new generation of architects and designers condemned the taste for ornamentation and developed a new style marked by geometric rigour and and new architectural concepts. Eileen Gray adheres to the new ideas of the time. At the same time, she met the Romanian-born architect jean Badovici. Together they designed and built the famous Villa E-1027, considered a jewel of modern architecture. After the war, Eileen Gray continued to be active, albeit with more projects.
An early Art Deco artist – she loved precious materials – Gray’s career took off as new ideas in architecture and design emerged. Avant-garde currents such as De Stijl and Constructivism “shook up” the classical codes of the time. In France, the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925 already outlined the modernist talent of the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. In Germany, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van Der Rohe were teaching and preparing what would become the international style in architecture…
A fine and open mind, Eileen Gray adhered to modern ideas. In 1929, she was one of the founding members of the UAM (Union des Artistes Modernes) with Robert Mallet-Stevens, Charlotte Perriand, René Herbst, and Jean Prouvé. They buried the elitism of Art Deco, and wanted a functional, more rational design adapted to a modern era.
So what made Eileen Gray turn to these Eileen Gray to these modernist ideas? In 1923, she visited an exhibition dedicated to the radical Dutch De Stijl movement at La Galerie de Galerie de L’Effort Moderne, which struck her. Eileen Gray admired the designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld. This is why in 1924 she created the The De Stijl Table, afirst step towards the creation of pure and functional functional furniture.
Then, in 1925, on the occasion of the the famous Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes And Industrial Arts in Paris, she denounced the “monstrosities of Art Deco” and disavowed her “Art Deco art Deco “antiques”, in particular her lamps and lacquered wood. In Utrecht, she visited the famous Schröder House designed by Gerrit Rietveld. An architectural ode to to the straight line and the right angle and a desire to create modular modular living spaces…
From then on, Eileen Gray continued to of the avant-garde ideas of the time. From 1926 to 1929, she with her companion Jean Badovici an emblematic project: the design the design and interior layout of Villa E-1027 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a jewel of modern architecture. If the house revisits certain points of modern architecture set out in 1927 by Le Corbusier, Gray and Badovici wanted a warmer, more intimate interior design, and less dictated by the Swiss master’s architectural concepts.
For Villa E-1027, Eileen Gray furniture in accordance with the modern ideas of the time, which advocated the subjection of structure to function of structure to function, and the use of furniture with combined functions. Which moreover, she can be considered one of the precursors of the tubular steel furniture of the tubular steel structure of the 1920s, along with Marcel Breuer, Gerrit Rietveld and Charlotte Perriand.
The pieces of furniture designed in the the 1920s by Eileen Gray and the creation of Villa E-1027 are witnesses to the the furniture designed by Eileen Gray in the 1920s and the realisation of Villa E-1027 are witnesses to the evolution of design and architecture of that time. Modern, Eileen Gray navigated between the most important trends of her time. However, she always knew how to make her mark in order to design an elegant and human aesthetic and human aesthetic, in the image of her personality. Having fallen into oblivion in the the second half of the twentieth century, her work has been rediscovered over the last ten years rediscovered and appreciated for its true value. In 2009, on the occasion of the auction of the auction of the Yves-Saint-Laurent – Pierre Bergé collection, the by Eileen Gray around 1917-1919, sold for 21.9 million euros 21.9 million, making it thesecondmost expensive piece of furniture in history most expensive piece of furniture in history.