Charles & Ray Eames

  • Born 1907 in Saint Louis, MO, USA / Sacramento, CA, USA
  • Died 1978 in Saint Louis, MO, USA / Saint Louis, MO, USA
Charles Eames briefly studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, establishing an architecture practice in 1930. Ray Eames came to New York in 1933, where she trained at the Hans Hofmann School and was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters. The couple met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1940, where Charles headed the industrial design department. After their marriage in 1941 they moved to Los Angeles. After Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen’s (1910–1961) first experiments with molded plywood in 1940—winning the Museum of Modern Art’s 1940 Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition—they received a U.S. Navy commission for plywood stretchers and leg splints during World War II. With access to new techniques they developed a design vocabulary that was essential for their innovative postwar approach. Focusing on a sculptural aesthetic, functionality, affordability, and cutting-edge materials like plywood and plastic, the Eameses made significant contributions to modern design and architecture. They constructed their famous avant-garde house in 1949 in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades, as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program. From the mid 1950s onwards the Eameses also worked as photographers and filmmakers.

Artworks by Charles & Ray Eames in the exhibition