Eileen Gray (1878-1976)
Lauded as a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture and design, Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray was born into an aristocratic family near Enniscorthy, a market town in south-eastern Ireland. An artistic flair was encouraged by her parents at a young age and she was fortunate enough to travel with her father extensively on painting tours of Italy and Switzerland.
Gray became intrigued by the Art Nouveau philosophy whilst studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She was a huge fan of the work of Glaswegian Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an influence which is apparent within her pieces.
Having spent the majority of her adulthood being influenced by her surroundings in Paris and southern France, Eileen Gray’s designs are considered as modern furniture classics. Vogue magazine and Yves Saint Laurent are noted fans of her work; whilst a piece designed by Gray was recently sold at auction in Paris for 21.9 million euros, setting a record for 20th century decorative art.