Celebrating Ray Eames

Sacramento exhibit shows designer was no ‘second banana’ to her celebrated husband
Ray Eames
Ray Eames, 1946. (photo: ©2013 Eames Office, LLC • eamesoffice.com)

When asked how she contributed to the now legendary designs of Charles and Ray Eames, Ray once said, “I just try to help in any way I can.”

In fact, Ray Eames (1912-1988) contributed as much to the furniture, graphic art, and movies that the Los Angeles design team turned out from the 1940s into the 1970s as did her more charismatic husband Charles.

For the first time, her work will be the focus of a museum exhibition. ‘Ray Eames: A Century of Modern Design’ opens February 23, with a members reception the night before, and continues for a full year at the California Museum, 1020 O Street, Sacramento.

The exhibit celebrates Ray’s centenary, says Brenna Hamilton, the museum’s communications director, and will give viewers “a strong sense of what Ray’s artistic identity was.”

It includes drawings, paintings, photos, furniture, sculpture, movies, toys, and more, with items drawn from the Eames collection. Many have never been publicly displayed.

Ray grew up in Sacramento, began designing fashion (at age 3) and creating handmade dolls, and became a painter. The exhibit, Hamilton says, shows continuity in Ray’s work, from the earliest days through the Eames office designs.

For more on ‘Ray Eames: A Century of Modern Design,’ click here.