The Irish designer and architect Eileen Gray (1878-1976), attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1898 to 1902. At the same time she also worked at a furniture-making workshop, where she became acquainted with Asian lacquers, which would start her on her life's work. Between 1902 and 1905 Eileen Gray attended courses at the École Colarossi and the Académie Julian in Paris. From the Japanese artisan Sougawara, Eileen Gray learned Japanese lacquer techniques.
In 1913 she first showed her work at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, where she attracted the notice of the couturier and art collector Jacques Doucet, who became Eileen Gray's first major client.
In 1922 Eileen Gray opened the gallery "Jean Désert", where she sold her lacquer tables and screens. Eileen Gray was one of the pioneers who created what we now call modern design during the 1920s and 1930s. Her name is pronounced in the same breath as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer. Her tubular steel furniture was revolutionary at that time, and is now accepted as classic.
In the second stage of her creative career, Eileen Gray switched to architecture and continued producing masterpieces. From 1926 until 1929 Eileen Gray and Badovici designed their own house in Roquebrune (E-1027). For that house, Eileen Gray designed some very modern furniture, including the famous "E-1027" side table with a circular glass top and tubular steel frame. In 1930/31 Eileen Gray designed the furniture for Jean Badovici's flat. In 1934 her second house, "Tempe e Pailla", was built in Castellar.
In 1937 she exhibited her work in Le Corbusier's "Pavillon des Temps Nouveau". After that little more was heard about Eileen Gray; her work was not discovered until around 1970.
Her career culminated in 1972 with her appointment by the Royal Society of Art in London, as Royal Designer of Industry. Her legendary "Adjustable Table" (E-1027) has been added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1978.
Some of the furniture she designed has been reissued by Classicon.
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