Eileen Gray exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland
In a week when Eileen Gray has cemented her place as one of the most important designers of the 20th century, it is worth remembering that the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks holds a permanent collection devoted to this Wexford-born designer and that admission to the Museum is completely free.
Opened in 2002, the collection includes Gray's personal memorabilia, lacquering tools, carpets, chairs, tables, screens, lanterns, drawings, her portfolio and reviews of her work. It fulfils one of her greatest wishes, to have her work displayed in her own country.
Wexford born Eileen Gray (1878 – 1976) can rightly be called the “mother of modernism” and is seen as one of the most important architects and designers of the 20th century. From her early lacquer work to design classics like the bibendum chair and the architectural masterpiece of E1027, Eileen Gray’s work is as individual as it is exciting.
“Eileen Gray occupies the centre of the modern movement. In all her tendencies, visions and expressions she is modern”. Jean Wils & Jean Badovici writing in Wendigen Magazine, 1924.
Although Eileen spent most of her life in Paris, she never lost touch with the land of her birth and in 1973 The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland elected her an honorary Fellow. In the citation Eileen was described as ‘probably the sole representative from Ireland wholly immersed as an outstanding exponent in the pioneering work of the modern movement’. Her work is described as ‘more inventive, (and) more modern’ than that of her contemporaries.
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