Women Designers

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As long as there have been design and decorative art, there have been female makers. The advent of Modernism in the 20th century ushered in the careers of many women designers whose impact on the field was outstanding, yet these creatives often did not receive the same critical attention as their male counterparts. Expanding the reach of avant-garde furniture, Florence Knoll co-founded the design company Knoll, which reissued some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century. Meanwhile, Charlotte Perriand, Anni Albers, Ray Eames, and Greta Magnusson Grossman furthered the lessons of the Bauhaus in their streamlined products, textiles, and furniture designs. Shining a light on underrecognized female visionaries, MoMA presented “Designing Modern Women 1890–1990” in 2014. Featuring April Greiman’s computer graphics, Lucie Rie’s ceramics, and Eileen Gray’s furniture pieces, among many others, the exhibition demonstrated the impact and diversity of design by women. Just five years earlier, Gray’s “Dragon Armchair” (1919) sold for over $21 million at a Phillips auction, setting the record for the highest price at auction for any 20th-century design work.

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