Tuesday October 16 at 18.00

The 4th edition of the Iconic Houses European Lecture Tour takes place from 9–16 October 2018, when Tim Benton, Professor Emeritus in Art History (Open University), will tour five European cities – Oslo, Cologne, Rotterdam, Prague and Brno – with a lecture on Eileen Gray’s iconic Villa E-1027 by the sea on the Côte d'Azur.


Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies 

Tim Benton’s lecture focuses on the restoration of the furniture in Villa E-1027 and on the various controversies which have coloured the way the house and its contents have been understood and explained. In the last two years, much of the effort of the Association Cap Moderne has gone into restoring the fixed and free-standing furniture in the living room. The plan and its furnishings proposed a new form of modern living, more adapted to the body and to gesture but also more flexible and humane. But work has also gone into challenging some of the myths concerning the relationship between Eileen Gray, Jean Badovici and Le Corbusier. What was Badovici’s role? Why did Le Corbusier paint seven murals in the house between April 1938 and August 1939? How should the house be interpreted in its lived existence? 


Tim Benton (b. 1945) is a leading researcher in Modernist architecture, with Le Corbusier as his special field of expertise. His research interests also include drawing, photography and painting. Benton has published a number of books, including a classic study of the design of Le Corbusier’s villas in Paris in the 1920s that was republished in a revised edition by Birkhäuser: The Villas of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret 1920–1930 (2007). 

He is currently working on a book on Le Corbusier’s domestic architecture (1910–1951). He has contributed to exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum; Art Deco 1910–1939 (2003), and Modernism Designing a New World (2006), and to the first retrospective exhibition of Charlotte Perriand in the Pompidou Centre, Paris (2006).   


Eileen Gray: Irish. Female. Bisexual. Genius     

Born in County Wexford, Ireland, in 1878 to an aristocratic mother and artist father, she later went to the Slade School of Fine Art. Aged 24 she moved to Paris to continue her design education, and for many years quietly and determinedly began designing her modernist furniture. There, Eileen became involved in the Bohemian circles of the time, and was able to explore her bisexuality, in an era of sexual conservatism. Eileen established a reputation as the most avant-garde and inventive designer in Paris based on her principle that 'to create one must first question everything'. She attracted the eye of a young Romanian architect, Jean Badovici. It was him who gave Eileen the impetus to build a house, E-1027, which was a personal, pioneering statement in the forward-looking spirit of the Modern Movement. They designed the house together as a holiday home for the two of them. It was furniture designer Gray’s first architectural work. The villa, completed in 1929, stands on a steep cliff descending to the sea. While the building appears solid, it forms a bridge between the landscape and the sea with its calculated use of levels, routing and stairs. This lends the house a certain lightness and subtlety which critics have often found lacking in the work of other Modernist icons. Gray designed many of the furnishings in the house herself, both fixed and fre-standing, and these create a sense of space giving the impression that the house was created from the interior. After the Second World War, Eileen became largely forgotten, but she never lost her passion for architecture and design. She continued to work on her portfolio until her death in 1976, aged 98, after she suffered a fall on the way to her studio.


The lecture will be in English with a czech translation.

The film by Vincent Cattaneo documents restoration work carried out by the Association Cap Moderne between 2015 and 2017 (the film lasts 55 minutes and is French spoken with English subtitles).



Press release for download here.



Full entry: 100 CZK / pp, Reduced entry: 50 CZK / student, senior
The capacity of the event is limited, prior reservation is required.
Tickets are on sale from 12 September at www.tugendhat.eu.



Phone: +420 515 511 015 / 017
E-mail: info@tugendhat.eu


A poster can be download here.