As the saying goes, it's hard to be a woman, but imagine being a woman in the early days of the modern movement. Many were lost behind the larger (man) names they attached their careers to, but attentive souls are teasing out the actual contributions of women to the early modern movement. Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perrand, and Lily Reich are three of my favorites, the latter two having had their contributions literally eclipsed by the larger names they worked with (The Barcelona chair isn't solely a Mies van der Rohe creation! Charlotte was the lead designer on the Corbusier furniture!).
Eileen, an Irish modernist designer and architect, is known for her furniture and her early modern house in southern France, E-1027. Born into a wealthy family, she went to art school and then set up shop in Paris, making an early name for herself in interior design and furniture design. In the 1920s, she designed and built E-1027, a house Le Corbusier became fixated on (painting Picasso-esque murals on the interior walls to the great consternation of Eileen). Her family's money allowed her to stay out of the shadow of men, but some of her later designs have been attributed to others (men) she designed for (something her daughter [good for her!] sues to rectify).
Corbu later drowned off the shores of Eileen's house during a daily swim.
de Stijl, 1922
Block Screen, 1922
Lacquer Screen, 1922-1925
Kilkenny rug, 1925
Wendingen rug, 1925
Day bed, 1925
Satellite hanging lamp, 1925 (this lamp recently sold for $3.8 million!)
Roquebrune rug, 1926
Adjustable Table, 1927
Castellar wall mirror, 1927
Satellite mirror, 1927
Roquebrune chair, 1932
Lou Perou table, 1932
Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999)
Charlotte, a French modernist designer, is known for her furniture designs and (hidden by time) collaboration with Le Corbusier. When she first inquired about a job with Corbu, his response was "We don't embroider cushions here." He later changed his mind after seeing her furniture later that year in 1927 and hired her to run his interior shop where she designed a number of iconic pieces in collaboration with him and Pierre Jeanneret. Later in her career, in addition to furniture design, she became an architect and a photographer. And instead of pearls, she wore ball bearings! If you can judge the spirit of a person by photographs (and I think you can with Charlotte), she was an absolute joy!
"work and sport", 1927
LC swivel chair, 1927
interior equipment for living, with Pierre Jeanneret, 1928
LC2 grand confort armchair, 1928 with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret
B301 reclining chair, 1928 with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret
B306 chaise lounge, 1928 with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret
refuge tonneau, with Pierre Jeanneret, 1938
cabinet on base, 1939
lounge chair, 1940
bookshelf (with Jean Prouve), 1953
student room, 1953
Lily Reich (1885-1947)
Lily, a German Modernist designer, is known for her furniture designs and collaborations with Mies van der Rohe between 1925 and 1938 (Mies went to the United States in 1938, Lily stayed in Germany). In fact, many of Mies van der Rohe's furniture designs, attributed to him, were very likely (almost assuredly) joint projects with Lily (the only time Mies "designed" furniture was when he was associated with Lily). Lily also collaborated with Mies on the Barcelona Pavilion.
Barcelona Chair, 1928, with Mies van der Rohe
chair without arms, c. 1931, MOMA
garden table, 1931, MOMA
LR120, 1931, MOMA
MR10, 1931, MOMA
the dwelling in our time, 1931, with Mies van der Rohe, MOMA
Annelise Fleischmann came to the Bauhaus in 1922 where she met and later married Josef Albers. At the Bauhaus Anni studied weaving, the only option open to her at the time. She and Josef came to the United States in 1933. More about Anni at (and most of the photo below from) the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
wall hanging, 1924
wall hanging, 1925
wall hanging, 1925
wall hanging, 1926
ancient writing, 1936
textile design, 1928
textile design, 1928