Eileen Gray's Black lacquer screen, courtesy of Christie's, estimated at up to 1.5 million euro. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 1,353,000
IRISH designer Eileen Gray (1879-1976) is one of the leading names featured
The Bibendum armchair by Eileen Gray, courtesy of Christie's images. (click to enlarge) UPDATE: IT MADE 709,000
in an extraordinary collection to be sold at Christie’s in Paris in March 2011. Christie’s will offer the Gourdon Collection, estimated to achieve between 40 and 60 million euro, at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris on March 29, 30 and 31.
Housed at the medieval Château de Gourdon near Grasse the collection focuses principally on the classicism of Art Deco and on the emergence of Modernism in France. It includes an important group of works by Eileen Gray. Celebrated as a single-minded and individualistic character the County Wexford born designer managed to capture and express in her own way the prevailing spirit of the age in design through the first decades of the 20th century.
In February 2009 her ‘dragons’ chair, circa 1917-1919 – see Design Record on antiquesandartireland.com – achieved the record sum of €21 million at the sale of the Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Bergé collections at the Grand Palais.
In the early 1920s Gray choose to move away from the highly refined lacquer work of her early days to focus on more functionalist designs in metal, glass and painted wood, inspired at first by the Modernist ideas of the Dutch De Stjil movement.
No less than 15 works by Eileen Gray featured in this sale include the black lacquered Brick’ screen (est. 1,200,000-1,500,000) developed from the panels she used in the hallway of the apartment of Suzanne Talbot on Rue de Lota, circa 1922. An example of this screen is now in the master bedroom of the Irish government mansion at Farmleigh in Dublin. The black and yellow base of her floor light (€400,000-600,000) resembles a piece of Constructivist architecture.
Her Transatlantique armchair (€1,000,000-1,500,000) was formerly the property of her friend and collaborator architect Jean Badovici, founder of the avant-garde magazine L’Architecture Vivante, 1923 and the ‘Bibendum’ armchair (€800,000-1,200,000) is clearly evocative of the logo of tire-manufacturer Michelin.