Eileen Gray, Screen, 1922. Via MoMa, NY

This lacquered wood screen is composed of several horizontal rows of panels joined by thin vertical metal rods. It functions not only as a movable wall that demarcates space but also as a sculpture composed of solids and voids, with an underlying influence of Cubism. It is one of the most striking and elegant creations by Gray, who was one of the leading designers working in Paris after World War I. Gray popularized and perfected the art of lacquered furnishings, and her preference for the meticulous finish of lacquer reveals a predilection for materials used in Japanese decorative arts.

Shaker Style: 1787 - 1992

Die Shaker haben im 19. Jahrhundert in Amerika Möbel geschaffen, die noch heute in ihrer Form und Funktion Bestand haben und auch in ihrer puristischen Ästhetik den Geschmack unserer Zeit treffen. Ihr bedeutender Einfluss in der Kunstgeschichte ist unbestritten.

Der tiefe Glaube und Tugenden wie Bescheidenheit, Fleiss oder Kreativität waren der Motor, um handwerkliche Produkte in höchster Qualität zu gestalten. Der formale Stil der Shaker ist streng, ohne Ornamente, geradlinig, klar. Im Fokus steht der Nutzen.

Die erste Shaker Gemeinde wurde 1787 in Mount Lebanon, New York gegründet, 1992 gab die letzte Gemeinde auf.

.. They were the first to sell packaged seeds, the first to popularize photography, the first adopters of electricity and automobiles. They even invented the automatic washing machine with powered agitators which they exhibited at the 1876 World Exhibition in Philadelphia. They became wealthy selling their washing machines to hotels all over the world. It was at that World Exhibition that the Shakers saw Thonet’s remarkable bentwood furniture from Vienna and quickly adopted the technique, integrating it into their furniture designs and famous Shaker boxes.

So the next time you see a Shaker chair, think of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and scholor who said “The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was built by someone capable of believing that an angel might come down and sit on it.”