Eileen Gray 1879–1976

Eileen Gray was a revolutionary figure in the fields of modern design and architecture. Her body of work and personal style expressed an undisputed individuality. Born to a family of Irish nobility in 1878, she became one of the first women admitted to the Slade School of Art in London where she studied painting before beginning an apprenticeship in a lacquer workshop. She moved to Paris in 1902, where she continued her studies designing lacquered screens and decorative panels, later gaining recognition for work presented at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1913. After briefly fleeing Paris during World War I, Gray was commissioned to decorate Madame Mathieu-Lévy’s apartment. The opportunity allowed her to create a complete interior environment from wall paneling to furniture and décor. In 1922 she opened the renowned Galérie Jean Désert on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and exhibited her opulent chrome, steel tube, and glass furniture collection shortly after.