Post Lot Text
A DOUBLE SIDED SIX PANEL LACQUERED SCREEN, UNIQUE PIECE
By Eileen Gray, circa 1912-1915
This screen is referenced under the number 7 in the catalogue raisonné established by Peter Adam in 1987. It's location was unknown till today. It is described as 'a large, important screen, 6 panels, brown lacquer with tan incisions, no visual documentation. Stock Jean Désert 1930'.
We know that Eileen Gray closed her gallery in 1930, which she opened in the Spring of 1922. She gathered all her friends and clients and organised a large sale of the stock. The screen reappeared on the Parisian market early 1970s.
The catalogue raisonné dates the screen from 1922-1925, but it seems in fact to have been realised earlier, around 1912-1915.
This screen shows two very important aspects of Eileen Gray's work : modernity that brought her to abstraction and her love for the colour blue.
Against the advice and opinion of all the other lacquers, she insisted in her search for that specific lacquer colour, supposed impossible to achieve. After many experiments, she was finally successfull, thanks to a 'new chemical substance'. She managed to produce the dark blue she was looking for and that she used again and again in her work. The blue lacquer here is mixed with 'sabi', a powder stone that Eileen Gray imported from Japan and with silver foils in order to get the sensitive surface effect.
If we compare the abstract side of the screen with other screens such as 'La Voie Lactée', 1912, or the back of 'Le Destin', 1913, we can see the same sense of abstraction, which is evident so early in her work. We can also see a link between her very sophisticated use of lacquer, her search for transparences, colours and surface effects, and her use of certain kind of wood or leathers. It is interesting to compare certain parts of the screen with Eileen Gray's use of scorched wood, such as in the chest of drawers exhibited at the 'Salon des Artistes décorateurs', 1922. She achieved a dialogue between the wood veines and the treatment of the screen surface ; these interactions between the different sides of her work show a great coherence in her research, which she kept during the different periods of her life