Who was Ray Eames?
Many of the history books reference Charles Eames as one of the 20th Century's most influential and ingenious designers. Yet, what about his equally accomplished and talented other half who courted an equally colourful career of her own. I want to know: just who was Ray Eames?
It is perhaps inconceivable now, but it was commonly considered that Ray was male, and that Charles and Ray Eames were brothers!
Ray might be better known as one half of the design duo that took America, and subsequently the world, by storm. Yet in literature Ray Eames sometimes finds herself in the shadow of her husband, Charles who is predominant in references to their legacy. As a result, it seems only right that I determine to explore her own history and attempt to fill in the gaps ; a process which will hopefully lead me to find our more about the artist and her contribution to the world of design.
'Ray' was born Bernice Alexandra Kaiser on 15th December 1912, in Sacramento, California and throughout her youth lived in a number of city across the United States. She graduated from Bennett Women's College in Millbrook in 1933 at the age of 20. Upon graduating, Ray immediately enlisted as an apprentice of Hans Hoffman under whom she remained a student of abstract expressionism for six years.
American Abstract Artists
Ray was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists (AAA) group formed in New York in 1936.
She continued her education at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1940 where she met her future husband, Charles who was teaching industrial design.
The unit of Charles and Ray Eames
In 1941, shortly after Charles divorced his first wife, Catherine, Ray and Charles married in Chicago. The pair relocated to California where they would remain in their now famous Pacific Palisades home, until their respective deaths.
Arts and Architecture magazine legacy
Throughout her career, Ray designed a number of covers for the magazine Arts and Architecture.In addition to furniture design, Ray also lent on her abstract painting skills which she transferred to textiles. Many of the fabrics used in their collaborative designs were designed and created by Ray. These pieces can be found in national galleries housing the Eames' original works.
She survived her husband Charles 10-years to-the-day of his death. She died on the 21st August, 1988.