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Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray was an artist and designer of the 20th-century Modernist movement. Born in Ireland in 1878, Gray was raised and educated in London, and was one of the first women to be admitted to the Slade School of Fine Art, where she developed creative expertise in painting, furniture design and lacquer work. Her iconic E-1027 Adjustable Table is part of the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Gray's life and artistic development were recently the subject of the film The Price of Desire (2015). In 1902, Gray moved to Paris and became a popular designer of Art Deco lacquered screens and panels. She received important interior design commissions from the couturier, Jacques Doucet, and fashion icon, Suzanne Talbot. Twenty years later, she opened her own gallery to showcase her work, and throughout the 1920s and '30s would produce an array of modern furniture along with screens and lamps. Her work was promoted by the prominent Dutch 'De Stijl' group. Gray's 1925 exhibition of glass, steel tube and chrome furniture were viewed as incredibly modern for the time period. From 1937 on, encouraged by the great architects Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, Gray worked in both architecture and furniture design. Many of her most groundbreaking projects from this time, such as the 1946-49 Cultural and Social Centre, remain unbuilt. Eileen Gray's most famous architectural work is the minimalist Villa E-1027 (1929), near Cannes on the French Riviera, built for fellow architect, Jean Badovici. In 1972, she was appointed as a Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts in London. Prior to her death in 1976, Gray partnered with London-based Zeev Aram, granting him an exclusive license to bring her furniture designs to the public; the UK- produced collection largely features themes of sleek curves in tubular steel and leather.