A tour of Eileen Gray’s hideaway

gray_eileenThis year might be called The Year of Eileen Gray. In February, the Dragon armchair made by the Anglo-Irish decorator, designer and architect in 1917 became the most costly chair in history, when it sold for €21.9 million at auction. The collector who bought it remains anonymous, but Cheska Vallois, the gallery owner who represented the buyer, said the astronomical sum was “the price of desire”. No wonder the National Museum of Ireland, whose Collins Barracks branch maintains a permanent Gray exhibition, despairs of acquiring more pieces. Also this year, the French government, local authorities and the cement company Lafarge have joined forces to restore E-1027, the revolutionary but ill-fated villa (of which more later) that Gray designed and built at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. “This restoration is tardy, official recognition of Eileen Gray, who was neglected and forgotten,” said Pierre-Antoine Gatier, the chief architect on the restoration project.

The Irish Times