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Eileen Gray
(August 9, 1878 - November 31, 1976) Ireland

Eileen Gray

Architect and interior designer


Eileen Gray - chrome and glass tableBorn Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray, she studied at the Slade School of Art, London, in 1898, before moving to Paris in 1902. The store Gray owned in Paris from 1922 to 1930, with the ambiguous title "Jean Désert", retailed high-style Art Deco furnishing, notably lacquer, then from 1925 the pristine chrome and glass furnishings of her own design which attracted international recognition.

Gray first gained attention for her work redecorating the apartment of a successful Parisian boutique owner, Madame Mathieu Levy, a process that took four years. Gray designed most of the furniture in the apartment, including the Bibendum Chair, universally cited as one of the twentieth century's most innovative, and most recognizable, furniture designs.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Gray designed and furnished two homes for herself - E.1027 and the "Tempe a Pailla"; house - both of which are icons of Modernist architecture.

She was openly bisexual, In Paris, Gray mixed in lesbian circles which included Romaine Brooks, Gabrielle Bloch and her lover Loïe Fuller, the singer Damia and Natalie Barney. Evelyn Wyld, who formed a relationship and established a shop with Eyre de Lanux around 1924, supervised the production of Gray's rugs, later designing her own range.


Sources: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001 - http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/

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