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Eileen Gray

On August 9. 1878, Eileen Gray was born to an aristocratic family in Enniscorthy. As a young adult, in order to develop her artistic sensibilities, she entered the Slade School for Fine Arts in London and from there moved to Paris where she would spend most of her working life. By the time she was photographed by Abbott (according to Gray's biographer Peter Adams, to be 'done' by Abbott who was a student of Man Ray ' meant you were rated as somebody') she had begun to come into the fulness of her creative energy and had created opportunities for herself to explore her talent. On a trip to London in 1905 Eileen wandered into a lacquer repair shop: a trip which was to change the course of her creative life. Her boredom with the flowing, leafy lines of the Art Nouveau movement led to an artistic vocabulary which was more closely related to the De Stijl movement: clean lines and simple forms. The effect was stunning: (see linked Lacquer work file.) Eileen's lacquerwork succeeded in bringing her into the world of furniture and interior design. Her creative genius combined with an innovative sense of form as well as sensitivity to color, were utilized in new and innovative ways, usally to stunning effect.(see linked Furniture/Interior file) In 1921, Eileen opened a store at 217 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore as a direct outlet to the public for her designs. The store met with relative success in spite of the owner's lack of commercial and marketing skills. She continued to hone her designs, building upon a growing reputation for design excellence.