Architectural Archives

Eileen Gray Collection (193)

The collection comprises three architectural drawings, probably executed between 1927 and 1949, documenting two designs: a presentation drawing for a dining room chair designed for the E1027 house and two drawings for a house titled “Une Maison Solaire”. 

Biographical / Historical Sketch

Eileen Gray was born in Ireland in 1878 and lived her adult life in Paris, where she died in 1976.  She studied at the Slade School in London, at the Académie Colarossi and Académie Julian in Paris, and in the workshops of D. Charles in London and Sugawara in Paris.  She exhibited furniture and lacquer work at the Exposition des Artistes Décorateurs in Paris in 1913 and again in 1922.  From 1919 on Gray designed complete interiors for a number of clients, and from 1922 to 1930 she had her own shop in Paris.  In the later 1920s she began to design houses, most notably the E1027 house of 1927-1929 for her close friend Jean Badovici, editor of the influential magazine L’Architecture Vivante.  Her furniture and interior design were important features of this house and another house she built for herself in 1932-1934.  Le Corbusier later painted eight murals in the E1027 house without her knowledge, seriously compromising the integrity of her design.  Only two of her architectural designs were executed.  She produced several other unbuilt designs, including one titled Une Maison Solaire.

Shortly before her death, Gray began to receive public recognition proportional to the importance of her design work.  Dr. Joseph Rykwert, who gave this collection to the Architectural Archives, was a central figure in Gray’s rediscovery (see articles by Rykwert in:  Domus - 12/1968, Perspecta no. 13, and Architectural Review - 8/1972).
 

Scope & Content Note

The collection comprises three drawings documenting two architectural projects, probably designed between 1927 and 1949.  One presentation drawing documents a dining room chair designed for the E1027 house.  An example of this chair can be seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  Two drawings document Gray’s design for a house titled “Une Maison Solaire,” possibly designed in the late 1940s.

Provenance

Acquisition:  Gift of Joseph and Anne Rykwert, 1995-1996.

The collection was donated to the Archives by Dr. Joseph Rykwert.  The drawings were given to Rykwert by Prunella Clough, a niece of Gray’s, soon after Gray’s death.