Black and white view of Eileen Gray's seaside house E 1027 seen from the Mediterranean Sea.
Black and white bust-length portrait of Gray in profile with cropped hair wearing a dark jacket and white collared shirt.
Black and white bust-length portrait of Gray in profile with cropped hair wearing a dark jacket and white collared shirt.
Black and white view of Eileen Gray's seaside house E 1027 seen from the Mediterranean Sea.

With this online companion to Bard Graduate Center Gallery’s Eileen Gray exhibition, we invite you to click the featured images below to explore many different aspects of Gray’s career, from her celebrated projects to many lesser-known and recently rediscovered pieces on display for the first time.

Born Kathleen Eileen Moray Smith-Gray in 1878 in Ireland, the woman who came to be known simply as Eileen Gray was one of the twentieth century’s most accomplished designer-architects whose artistic practice also included painting and photography. Today she is recognized as a pioneering woman in what was the predominantly male field of modern architecture.

Check this page for updates and new features added regularly!

With this online companion to Bard Graduate Center Gallery’s Eileen Gray exhibition, we invite you to click the features below to explore many different aspects of Gray’s career, from her celebrated projects to many lesser-known and recently rediscovered pieces on display for the first time.

Born Kathleen Eileen Moray Smith-Gray in 1878 in Ireland, the woman who came to be known simply as Eileen Gray was one of the twentieth century’s most accomplished designer-architects whose artistic practice also included painting and photography. Today she is recognized as a pioneering woman in what was the predominantly male field of modern architecture.

Check this page for updates and new features added regularly!

Eileen Gray’s own construction of her identity is revealed in photographs taken of her over her long life. As a child and young adult, she dresses in accordance with her aristocratic status. The later adoption of masculine clothing seen in photographs from the 1920s corresponds to her emergence as a modern architect and designer who is likely to have been bisexual. Gray can easily be perceived in this image as being among many of her fellow women who during the 1920s radically changed their personas to evoke a more independent lifestyle and to show how they self-identified as modern.

EXPLORE

Bard Graduate Center's Eileen Gray exhibition installation with carpets, paintings, and an architectural model on display.

Though Eileen Gray’s career began at art school in London, she eventually expanded her practice to include lacquerwork, furniture design, and architecture, among other areas. Click the links on the right and explore her exceptional versatility. You will see new discoveries and learn about many of the objects on view in the exhibition. Click through the portfolio Gray compiled of her work.

EXPLORE

Bard Graduate Center's Eileen Gray exhibition installation with carpets, paintings, and an architectural model on display.

Though Eileen Gray’s career began at art school in London, she eventually expanded her practice to include lacquerwork, furniture design, and architecture, among other areas. Click the links on the right and explore her exceptional versatility. You will see new discoveries and learn about many of the objects on view in the exhibition. Click through the portfolio Gray compiled of her work.

SEE

Gray’s career as an architect began in the early 1920s, when she developed a series of hypothetical projects and built works both on her own initiative and in collaboration with the Romanian architect Jean Badovici, her longtime friend, collaborator, and likely intimate partner. Among these were private houses for leisure retreat, public leisure facilities, social projects, and urban structures. Click on the photos to the right to explore archival images and drawings of Gray’s architecture.

SEE

Gray’s career as an architect began in the early 1920s, when she developed a series of hypothetical projects and built works both on her own initiative and in collaboration with the Romanian architect Jean Badovici, her longtime friend, collaborator, and likely intimate partner. Among these were private houses for leisure retreat, public leisure facilities, social projects, and urban structures. Click on the photos to the right to explore archival images and drawings of Gray’s architecture.

Eileen Gray created the vacation house E 1027 for and with Jean Badovici between 1926 and 1929. Located on an isolated site in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, it is undoubtedly the best-known example of Eileen Gray’s built architecture. The plan demonstrates Gray’s ordering principles: orientation of the main living space to the southern exposure and view of the sea and of the bedrooms to the rising sun; separation of private areas from public ones; independence of the primary spaces; and the isolation of service spaces. The exterior and interior of E 1027 are characterized by a new interdependence of architecture and furnishings, exemplifying Gray’s interest in the potential for modern architecture to reinvigorate the rituals of daily life. The design addresses the basic needs of everyday life in highly inventive and innovative ways.

In addition to Gray’s notable designs for houses including E 1017 and Tempe a Pailla, well-developed drawings survive for a variety of other projects. Among those presented here are designs that reveal Gray’s interest in social architecture and structures for public use: a hypothetical collective apartment building, housing for a worker’s colony, a combination theater/art center, and an exhibition pavilion.

Eileen Gray designed the house called Tempe a Pailla for herself (named after a local proverb: “With time and straw, the figs ripen”), for herself. Located in Castellar, France, the house sits on a hilly mountain road overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. One of Gray’s primary technical achievements resides in the dual purpose of her furniture and fittings as well as her architecture. As was the case with her other domestic projects, Gray was especially sensitive to how the house was positioned in the natural landscape and to how the design captured the movement of the sun and the distant views.

LEARN

Whether you are an educator, parent, or just interested in learning more about Eileen Gray, use the resources on the right to dive deeper into her life and work. The Educator’s Guide and At-Home Activities provide fun opportunities for remote learning and Object Stories by BGC Teen Scholars and Gallery Educators from our MA and PhD degree programs offer insights into selected pieces in the exhibition.

LEARN

Whether you are an educator, parent, or just interested in learning more about Eileen Gray, use the resources on the right to dive deeper into her life and work. The Educator’s Guide and At-Home Activities provide fun opportunities for remote learning and Object Stories by BGC Teen Scholars and Gallery Educators from our MA and PhD degree programs offer insights into selected pieces in the exhibition.

READ

The Eileen Gray exhibition catalogue provides an in-depth exploration of Gray’s life and career. Browse selected chapters and object case studies from the publication which spans Gray’s work as a multi-faceted designer, architect, and artist working in many mediums.

READ

The Eileen Gray exhibition catalogue provides an in-depth exploration of Gray’s life and career. Browse selected chapters and object case studies from the publication which spans Gray’s work as a multi-faceted designer, architect, and artist working in many mediums.

WATCH

Watch excerpts from Bard Graduate Center’s symposium Eileen Gray: New Research and Methodologies and check back for additional video features filmed in the gallery coming soon!

WATCH

Watch excerpts from Bard Graduate Center’s symposium Eileen Gray: New Research and Methodologies and check back for additional video features filmed in the gallery coming soon!