SIX-PANEL LACQUER & INCISED SCREEN

by Eileen Gray (1879-1976)
France, 1922-1925


Each panel:
78½ in (200 cm) high
17 in (43.2 cm) wide
½ in (1.3 cm) deep

Incised wood with brown and tan lacquer.
This screen with its graceful geometric narration is a fine example showing Gray's evolution away from the figurative to a more abstract language and departure from the Art Deco to a more modernist inclination. It was during this time that Gray began an exchange of ideas with the Dutch avant-garde De Stijl group whose influence is evident in the straight horizontal and vertical lines of this screen.

Eileen Gray is now widely acclaimed as both a furniture designer of considerable talent and originality and a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture. Her surviving works are few, but they reflect a technical excellence and poetic virtuosity exemplifying the most sophisticated tastes of her time. Gray was constantly experimenting and developing new ideas which were evident in her forms, motifs and materials. She excelled in the art of Oriental lacquering in her interior and furniture designs creating exquisite screens, panels, furniture and objects. Gray learned these techniques from lacquer artist Seizo Sugawara with whom she would continue to work with for over 20 years to create some of the greatest lacquerwork masterpieces of the Western world in the early 20th century. Initially praised by avant-garde critics of the 1920s, she then fell into oblivion until 1968 with the writings of historian Joseph Rykwert bringing awareness to her works again. The sales of her pieces in the collections of noted tastemakers - couturier Jacques Doucet in 1972 and Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent in 2009 - helped to restore her to her rightful place in 20th century decorative arts.

Provenance:
Galerie Jean Désert, Paris
Mme. Jean-Henri Labourdette, Paris
By descent to her daughter Mme. Louis Pauwels, Paris
Jean-Claude Brugnot, Paris
Sotheby's New York, December 1-2 1989, lot #754.
Collection of Steven A. Greenberg, New York

Exhibited:
Victoria and Albert Museum, Eileen Gray: Designer 1879-1976, London, 1979
The Museum of Modern Art, Eileen Gray: Designer 1879-1976, New York, 1980
DeLorenzo Gallery, Eileen Gray, New York, December 1997
Centre Pompidou, Eileen Gray, Paris, 20 February - 20 May 2013
Museum of Modern Art, Eileen Gray, Dublin, 11 October 2013 – 19 January 2014

Literature:
Jean Badovici, "Eileen Gray: Meubelen en Interieurs", Wendingen, series 6, no. 6l, Amsterdam, 1924, p. 9 for an image of the screen in Eileen Gray's Paris gallery, Jean Désert
Philippe Garner, "The Lacquer Work of Eileen Gray and Jean Dunand," The Connoisseur, London, 1973, p. 4 for the original design drawing for this screen
J. Stewart Johnson, "Eileen Gray: Designer 1879-1976", exhibition catalogue, Victoria & Albert Museum, London/Museum of Modern Art, New York, Debrett's Peerage Ltd., New York, 1979, p. 28.
Peter Adam, "Eileen Gray: Architect/Designer", Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1987, p. 75.
Philippe Garner, "Eileen Gray: Designer and Architect", Taschen, Cologne, 1993, p. 51.
Caroline Constant, "Eileen Gray", Phaidon Press, New York, 2000, p. 46.
Eileen Gray, Centre Pompidou, exhibition catalogue, 20 February - 20 May 2013, Éditions du Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013
Jennifer Goff, "Eileen Gray: Her World and Her Work", Irish Academic Press, Ireland, 2015, p. 169.

Price on request - Inv. #1056