Art market Magazine April 2013

 
THE MAGAZINE 
 
EXHIBITIONS 
 
Eileen Gray a free…
THE MAGAZINE

EXHIBITIONS

Eileen Gray a free spirit
as Eileen Gray's most emblematic work her Nonconformist Chair? The dominating impression left by the Centre Pompidou
exhibition is very much that of an extraordinarily liberated woman. From the graceful Art Deco of her lacquer work to the rigour of the chrome-plated tubing in her E 1027 house, designed with Jean

W

Berenice Abbott, “Portrait of Eileen Gray”, Paris, 1926.

Badovici, her work betrays no trace of dogmatism. The furniture she designed shortly afterwards for her Tempe a Pailla house already evinced the playful spirit of the post-war period from the early Thirties onwards. Eileen Gray was decidedly modern in the Rimbaldian meaning of the term: that of the avant-garde. In the circuit laid out "in ensembles" by exhibition curator Cloé Pitiot, we find the well-known landmarks of the designer's career: the lacquer work she did with Seizo Sugawara, the creations chosen by Jacques Doucet between 1913 and 1915, the apartment designed for Madame Mathieu Lévy in the early Twenties, the Jean Désert gallery (1922-1930), and the construction of E 1027. The exhibition also highlights lesser-explored areas of her talent, like her rugs, and Tempe a Pailla, "Eileen Gray's other house", not to mention her relationship with Le Corbusier, her early years and her attachment to British culture and her native Ireland, even though she settled in Paris in 1902. This decision was explained by the unfettered climate reigning in the French capital. Her desire for freedom can also be seen in her most classic pieces. Her particular expression of Art Deco was a long way from the play with geometric volumes sought by most proponents of the time. Her approach was far closer to the more historicist tone of Albert-Armand Rateau, but without his clearly identified sources. The Far East certainly occupied a key place in it, but without lapsing into chinoiserie or Japonism. A more tribal inspiration can also be seen at work in a number of pieces. But in this little game, the most obvious source is called Eileen Gray. While the exhibition confirms the marked creative turning point represented by the design of E 1027, it shows that from the early Twenties on, Gray

112

GAZETTE DROUOT INTERNATIONAL I N° 24

© Berenice Abbott/Commerce Graphics


EXHIBITIONS

THE MAGAZINE

Eileen Gray, Dressing table/screen, 1926-1929, Painted wood, aluminium, glass, cork, silver leaf. Furniture from the E 1027 house, Centre Pompidou,
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

HD

was receptive to essentially constructivist avant-garde movements: the Suprematism of Malevitch, and above all the Neoplasticism of De Stijl. From this point of view, her rug designs and the table from 1922-1924, now in the Richmond Museum in Virginia, speak volumes. In 1923, the bedroom-boudoir for Monte Carlo she exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs illustrates the radicalisation of her approach, not always appreciated by the critics of the time. "Madame Eileen Gray's bedroom for Monte Carlo is appalling, with its chrysalis lamps in parchment and wrapping paper. It's the bedroom of Doctor Caligari's daughter in all its horror" was the verdict of one article, presented in a showcase. Further on, another exhibits postcards from the De Stijl architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud from 1923 to 1924, showing far more sensitivity to the designer's expressionism. The man who played a major role in her initiation to modern architecture was Jean Badovici, the tireless driving force behind the magazine L'Architecture vivante (1923-1933). In 1925, they went together to see the Shröder House built by Rietveld the previous year. We do not know when or how they met, nor the exact nature of their relationship, as Gray took care to destroy all traces of her personal life. Her desire for concealment is one of the keys for interpreting her whole work. As Frédéric Migayrou puts it in his essay on the designer's aesthetic published in the exhibition catalogue: "The generic essence of her work may lie in the principle of the "shield"; the connotation of the hinging or folding of the screen. It is a metaphor for veiling, for the mysterious, the different; a subjectivisation that rejects the ideology of the machine for living, like her arbitrary quest for hygienism and transparency". Impeccably staged, the exhibition may leave Art Deco lovers a little frustrated. For example, we do not find the legendary "Le Destin" screen which reappeared at auction with the Doucet collection sale

© Rights reserved. Photographic credits: Centre Pompidou, Mnam-Cci. Dist. RMN-GP

Art Market Magazine April 2013
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 1 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 2 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 3 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 4 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 5 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 6 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 7 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 8 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 9 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 10 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 11 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 12 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 13 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 14 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 15 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 16 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 17 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 18 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 19 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 20 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 21 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 22 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 23 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 24 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 25 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 26 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 27 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 28 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 29 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 30 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 31 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 32 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 33 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 34 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 35 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 36 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 37 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 38 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 39 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 40 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 41 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 42 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 43 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 44 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 45 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 46 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 47 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 48 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 49 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 50 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 51 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 52 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 53 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 54 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 55 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 56 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 57 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 58 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 59 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 60 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 61 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 62 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 63 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 64 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 65 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 66 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 67 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 68 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 69 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 70 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 71 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 72 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 73 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 74 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 75 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 76 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 77 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 78 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 79 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 80 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 81 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 82 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 83 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 84 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 85 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 86 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 87 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 88 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 89 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 90 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 91 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 92 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 93 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 94 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 95 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 96 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 97 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 98 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 99 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 100 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 101 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 102 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 103 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 104 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 105 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 106 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 107 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 108 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 109 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 110 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 111 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 112 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 113 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 114 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 115 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 116 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 117 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 118 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 119 -
Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 120 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 121 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 122 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 123 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 124 - Art Market Magazine - April 2013 page 125 -