(Exhibition text in English, referring to a QR code in the exhibition)

Influencing the Development of Modern Design

Name: Eileen Gray
Born: 1878 in Enniscorthy, Ireland
Died: 1976 in Paris

Internationally recognised pioneer of early 20th century design and architecture.

Designer, artist and architect Eileen Gray is one of the pioneers of Art Deco and Modernist design. She studies fine art in London and Paris, taking an early interest in advanced Japanese lacquer work and learning the difficult technique. In 1907 she moves to Paris permanently, and two years later she buys her first car.

In Paris, Gray sets up a weaving studio. It expands over time and she receives several prestigious interior design commissions. In 1922, Galerie Jean Desért opens, selling Gray’s furniture and carpets. Her furniture design is noted for its modern appearance with perfectly lacquered surfaces or shiny steel tubes. In the 1920s, she turns her interest to architecture and designs several buildings. The most famous is villa E 1027 on the French Riviera. She designs it together with the Romanian architect Jean Badovici. The name is a play on her and Badovici’s initials. Today, the villa, completed in 1929 and fully furnished using Eileen Gray’s furniture, is considered a masterpiece of modernism.

Liberation of Colour and Form

Name: Sonia Delaunay-Terk
Born: 1885 in Gradizhsk, Russia (now Hradyzk, Ukraine)
Died: 1979 in Paris

Sonia Delaunay becomes the first to introduce abstract art into fashion.

Sonia Delaunay is one of the early representatives of modern non-figurative painting that developed in France in the early 1910s. Her dynamic paintings, with their constant rhythm and movement, have a tremendous intensity of colour. She and her husband, Robert Delaunay, are members of the young avant-garde in Paris. Together, they develop an idea of combining different art forms – the “simultaneous” project – uniting life and art. Through her characteristic elements of design, she leaves her mark on pottery, book illustrations, posters and stage clothes, but above all on her bold fashion garments.

One way to bring art to the people is to create clothing. In 1924, Sonia Delaunay opens her fashion studio Boutique Simultanee, and in 1925 she participates in the Paris exhibition. The clothes are her paintings and vice versa; printed fabrics with Sonia’s abstract and geometric patterns of squares, triangles, diamonds and stripes in bright colours. It is her contribution to the contemporary woman – a new type of clothes to wear in modern society.

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