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Vitra Eames House Whale

$1,145Asking Priceper item


Charles and Ray Eames surrounded themselves in their legendary Eames House with their own designs and an extensive collection of folk art, as well as other small objects found on their travels, in nature and in everyday life. Almost everything they collected was related to aspects of design and form, as Ray explained: ‚We never collected anything just as collectors, but because something was inherent in the piece that made it seem like a good idea to be looking at.‘The Eameses organised and decorated their living space with great seriousness and tremendous joy, making the Eames House an ever-changing collage, a reflection of their life. A prominent feature of the Eames collection was a huge wooden whale over two metres in length, an anonymous work of North American folk art. Charles and Ray Eames were exceptionally fond of the painted object: it occupied a permanent place in the Eames Office and was also used in photo shoots – such as the first photos of the Lounge Chair. The smaller-scale reproduction of the Eames House Whale by Vitra is crafted from alder wood and painted by hand. Material: solid alder wood, hand painted.


  • Creator
    Charles and Ray Eames (Designer),Vitra (Manufacturer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 5.52 in. (14 cm)Width: 27.56 in. (70 cm)Length: 5.52 in. (14 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (In the Style Of)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Production Type
    New & Custom(Current Production)
  • Estimated Production Time
    7-8 weeks
  • Condition
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 215 116 011stDibs: LU3989119210292

About the Designer

Charles and Ray Eames

Charles Eames and Ray Eames were the embodiment of the inventiveness, energy and optimism at the heart of mid-century modern American design, and have been recognized as the most influential designers of the 20th century.

As furniture designers, filmmakers, artists, textile and graphic designers and even toy and puzzle makers, the Eameses were a visionary and effective force for the notion that design should be an agent of positive change. They are the happy, ever-curious, ever-adventurous faces of modernism.

Charles (1907–78) studied architecture and industrial design. Ray (née Beatrice Alexandra Kaiser, 1912–88) was an artist, who studied under the Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann. They met in 1940 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit (the legendary institution where Charles also met his frequent collaborator Eero Saarinen and the artist and designer Harry Bertoia) and married the next year.

His technical skills and her artistic flair were wonderfully complementary. They moved to Los Angeles in 1941, where Charles worked on set design for MGM. In the evenings at their apartment, they experimented with molded plywood using a handmade heat-and-pressurization device they called the “Kazam!” machine. The next year, they won a contract from the U.S. Navy for lightweight plywood leg splints for wounded servicemen — they are coveted collectibles today; more so those that Ray used to make sculptures.

The Navy contract allowed Charles to open a professional studio, and the attention-grabbing plywood furniture the firm produced prompted George Nelson, the director of design of the furniture-maker Herman Miller Inc., to enlist Charles and (by association, if not by contract) Ray in 1946. Some of the first Eames items to emerge from Herman Miller are now classics: the LCW, or Lounge Chair Wood, and the DCM, or Dining Chair Metal, supported by tubular steel.

The Eameses eagerly embraced new technology and materials, and one of their peculiar talents was to imbue their supremely modern design with references to folk traditions. Their Wire chair group of the 1950s, for example, was inspired by basket weaving techniques. The populist notion of “good design for all” drove their molded fiberglass chair series that same decade, and also produced the organic-form, ever-delightful La Chaise. In 1956 the Eames lounge chair and ottoman appeared — the supremely comfortable plywood-base-and-leather-upholstery creation that will likely live in homes as long as there are people with good taste and sense.

Charles Eames once said, “The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” For very good collectors and thoughtful interior designers, a piece of design by the Eameses, the closer produced to original conception the better, is almost de rigueur — for its beauty and comfort, and not least as a tribute to the creative legacy and enduring influence of Charles and Ray Eames.

The collection of original Eames furniture on 1stDibs includes chairs, tables, case pieces and other items.

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