PORTRAIT OF EILEEN GRAY
Born in Ireland in 1878, Eileen Gray, whose real name was Kathleen Eileen Moray Smith, left the very Victorian family world at the age of 22 to start her artistic adventure in London. A student at the Slade School of Fine Art, she discovered new techniques like painting, and also lacquering under the direction of the Japanese born, French-naturalized master lacquerist and sculptor Seizo Sugawara.
Independent by nature, she ambled from exhibition to exhibition, including one in Paris which made her want to study at the Académie Colarossi, and then at the Académie Julian, and to set up permanently in the capital.
Perfecting her know-how in lacquered panels and rugs, Eileen Gray was noticed by the art collector Jacques Doucet, and she was entrusted with new projects: this was the start of her career.