The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the French embassy in Dublin, presents an exhibition dedicated to the Irish designer Eileen Gray (1879-1976). The exhibition celebrates Gray’s Irish heritage and displays a number of previously unseen works by the pioneering artist and modernist who spent 70 years living in France.
Although critics tend to divide her designs into two camps - decorative and architectural - IMMA presents her body of work as one entity, incorporating her drawing, painting, lacquering, photography, interior decoration and architecture.
In Gray's early life she was influenced by Art Nouveau, in particular the work of Glaswegian artist and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and she went on to invent design classics such as the Bibendum Chair. However Gray was neglected for much of her career, only getting the recognition she deserved in the 1960s. Never having developed an industrial production, her original pieces are unique and rare.
In December 2012 one of her wooden screens, used as an apartment room divider, sold at auction in New York for more than $1.8 million, while in 2009 one of her arm chairs sold at auction in Paris for €21.9 million. She died in her adopted city of Paris in 1976 aged 98.
Today she is rated alongside the likes of Le Corbusier as one of the most important designers of the 20th century.