Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eileen Gray: Ireland's fabulous modern design pioneer


** UPDATE 2012: Enniscorthy Castle in Co. Wexford now has an exhibit dedicated to her, and a new movie about her is in the works, to star Winona Ryder. AND this Thursday (March 8) at 10pm on TG4, her birthplace will be featured on Manchan Mangan's series on extraordinary houses & their stories. 

Eileen Gray's work has been in the news a bit in  the past two days, as one of her Art Deco chairs went up for auction, & was expected to fetch millions. In 2009 one went for over 20 million dollars, so when this chair 'only' climbed to 1.7 million, it was withdrawn(!) (See Irish Times article here)
  Neglected
Amazingly, this pioneering modern designer had been quite neglected by Ireland. We have some of her pieces here in the Decorative Arts Collection at the Collins Barracks in Dublin, but if you compare, for example, the amount of information on her found when you click the aforementioned link, to the amount here from the Design Museum in Britain, well, you can see the amount of official recognition her work gets in Ireland. She is included in IMMA's The Moderns exhibit, and I attended a very interesting lecture on her given by Yvonne Farrell & Shelley McNamara,  Directors of Grafton Architects at the Wexford Arts Centre in October, so hopefully the recognition due her is growing.
Here are two short clips; the first showing some works & a bit about her background and recognition today, and the second showing many of her pieces. 
Take 5 minutes out to appreciate this Irish female art/design/architectural pioneer!

video

Have you seen any of Eileen Gray's work? Where?( During a visit to the States I saw some earlier pieces at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in Richmond, Virginia  in their Art Nouveau & Art Deco collection, and that really got me interested in her.) I don't think there is a website dedicated to her/her work- but if there is, let me know!  As always, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section!

2 comments:

  1. This is *fantastic* news, thank you for blogging it! Have retweeted your link and really hope this post gets the attention it deserves. Not only because she is Irish but also because Women's Day is coming up ;) Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. AND this Thursday (March 8) at 10pm on TG4, her birthplace will be featured on Manchan Mangan's series on extraordinary houses & their stories. :-) http://www.tg4.ie/en/programmes/ce-a-chonai-i-mo-theachsa.html

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