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The Eames Family presents Lucia Eames: Seeing with the Heart during Milan Design Week

The first European exhibition of artwork by artist Lucia Eames, Seeing with the Heart unveils rarely seen works by the California optimist and sustainable aesthete during Milan Design Week

MILAN - June 6, 2022 - The Eames Family announced today details for the exhibition Seeing with the Heart, the first in-depth display of work created by the artist Lucia Eames (1930-2014). Seeing with the Heart offers a unique look into the life of a creator who embedded symbolic, visual emblems into her art across a variety of mixed media, including drawings, cut-outs, and photographs, writings, and large-scale commissions that incorporate found objects. 

View into the third gallery featuring 200 images of Lucia’s work, photographs, portraits and more. ​ in addition, Windharp on left shelf, Swooping Corner Bird on right, and blue Cloud Bench in background. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade
View into the third gallery featuring 200 images of Lucia’s work, photographs, portraits and more. ​ in addition, Windharp on left shelf, Swooping Corner Bird on right, and blue Cloud Bench in background. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade

Created by Form Portfolios, the exhibition focuses on the magical world of Lucia’s visual poetry and brings abundance to four rooms of a historic apartment in the heart of Brera. The exhibition will be on view from Tuesday, June 7th through Friday, June 10th during Milan Design Week.

“My siblings and I, as well as our Lucia Eames archiving team, are thrilled to bring to life the work of our mother here in Milan. During our process of archiving, we have delighted in her hope and humor, and now are excited to share her gifts of spirit, joy and optimism with a wider audience to reach new generations of design lovers.” Carla Atwood Hartman, Curator, Lucia Eames Archives.

Celebration of Lucia’s butterflies—grid of hand-cut work framing fluttering laser-cut hanging butterflies with enlarged butterfly on right. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.
Celebration of Lucia’s butterflies—grid of hand-cut work framing fluttering laser-cut hanging butterflies with enlarged butterfly on right. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.

The exhibition’s title, Seeing with the Heart, refers to both her transcendent connection to the natural world and her unique upbringing in the world of her parents, Charles and Ray Eames. ​ While she treasured her time with them, her creative path was uniquely her own. Throughout her life, Lucia Eames transformed her living and work spaces into treasure troves of extraordinary visual density. ​ She drew deep inspiration from the natural world and delighted in celebrating the patterns and forms she found there. Her sketch pads are treasures in themselves, filled with writings and drawings that often reappeared in works that joyfully brought her environment to life. Her rich body of work, stored for decades and carefully archived after her death, at last reveals the true artistic breadth of Lucia Eames. 

Cloud of laser-cut miniature butterflies. Photography Maxime Galati-Fourcade.
Cloud of laser-cut miniature butterflies. Photography Maxime Galati-Fourcade.

Upon entering the first gallery of the exhibition, visitors are greeted by a room filled with colorful, hand-cut butterflies—a reference to a favorite memory of Lucia’s: the migration of monarch butterflies, which at a particular season, fluttered and danced in the meadow of her parents’ landmark home in Pacific Palisades. ​ Lucia cut each butterfly to be “distinctly individual, like its genetics or a fingerprint, with endless iterations and subtle differences on the landscape of the paper.” ​ She often played with scale and this is emphasized by the 100s of fluttering paper butterflies—a lovely movement against the grid of butterflies.

Podium filled with furniture designed and used by Lucia; monitors featuring process designs and enlarged butterfly on left. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.
Podium filled with furniture designed and used by Lucia; monitors featuring process designs and enlarged butterfly on left. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.

The second gallery celebrates Lucia’s metalwork—physical tables, stools, and bench from her own collection - and a digital art presentation featuring her process drawings related to her metal gates and furniture. A further nod to her exploration of scale is a hanging huge, large-scale butterfly juxtaposed with another swooping bird. Enhancing the room are plants, trees and vines celebrating Lucia’s love of nature.

“Bete Noir” Table, 1991, Lucia Eames. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade
“Bete Noir” Table, 1991, Lucia Eames. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade

The third gallery provides a more personal account of Lucia’s life with a floor-to-ceiling wall of 200 images representing her artwork, photographs, writings, graphic designs, and portraits. Balanced with this are three pedestals showcasing a few of over 7,000 steno pad pages filled with drawings and writings.

Final gallery with Stardance gate and a few panels that reveal more insights into Lucia. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.
Final gallery with Stardance gate and a few panels that reveal more insights into Lucia. Photography: Maxime Galati-Fourcade.


The final gallery spotlights her iconic Stardance gate, literally casting shadows. Visitors will also find banners designed in the 1960’s which she hung at her studio and from a tree in the backyard of her home. A final feature is Glimpses of Lucia Eames, by her son, Eames Demetrios, a visual video overview of selected work and portraits—still and motion. On the way out, the visitor is treated with a take-away of a woman who saw with her heart.

This exhibition is just the first collaboration between the Lucia Eames Archive and Form Portfolios and is aimed at bringing the work of this extraordinary artist to communities around the world. 

“We are honored to bring forth the undiscovered legacy of Lucia Eames, an artist with a remarkable oeuvre that is rare and unique,” expresses Mark Masiello, Founder of Form Portfolios. ​ ​

Lucia Eames: Seeing with the Heart was made possible through the generous support of Crate and Barrel; the exhibition is the beginning of a longer-term collaboration. 

 

 Lucia Eames: Seeing with the Heart Art Exhibition

​Presented by the Eames Family and Form Portfolios ​

​Via Solferino 11, 3rd Floor, ​ Milano 20121

Press Preview
​Monday, June 6 from 10:00 - 16:00 ​
​RSVP:
[email protected]

Open Daily
​Tuesday, June 7 - Friday, June 10 from 10:00 - 20:00
Wednesday, June 8 from 10:00 - 17:30

 

About the Artist, Lucia Eames (1930-2014)

Her early years were spent with her father, designer Charles Eames, at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he taught and subsequently met her beloved stepmother, Ray. ​ Lucia’s talents were recognized at an early age when, at age 12, her wooden sculpture was published in the legendary Arts & Architecture magazine. In 1952, she graduated from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts having enjoyed Walter Gropius as one of her professors.

Lucia spent much of her adult life raising five children near the Presidio Park in San Francisco. ​ Humorously, when the family moved, it was to a place a mere block away. ​ Both homes had treasured gardens, with the second overlooking the large national park with the Golden Gate Bridge on the horizon. It was in these two wooden homes that Lucia forged her style, her artistic approach and her commitment to an all-embracing creative spirit. Her last home and studio is currently under restoration as an important cultural site in the rolling hills of Sonoma County. In all the places where she lived, she was an active member of each community. 

Charles and Ray Eames, prior to their deaths in 1978 and 1988 respectively, entrusted Lucia with the Eames legacy by leaving her the Eames Office as well as the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, California. Lucia ensured the preservation of the Eames House for future generations by establishing the Eames Foundation with her children for its care. ​ Even today, a heart table which Lucia gifted to Ray is in the Eames House living room—exactly where Ray placed it. Seeing with the Heart features another example from that edition. ​ In the 1990s, to ensure the continued growth of her parents' legacy and the communication of their innovative teachings to new generations, Lucia asked her 5 children to lead the Eames Office. ​ From that point on, she continued to create and expand her own body of work until shortly before her death in 2014.

Today, the work of Lucia Eames is held in public and private collections around the world. Seeing with the Heart, in the center of Brera during Milan Design Week, is only the first step in the introduction of this American Symbolist and California Optimist to a wider audience.

Download hi-res imagery here

For press information on Seeing with the Heart please contact: Camron PR: [email protected] 

For press information on Form Portfolios please contact: The Collective PR: [email protected]

Please find more information Lucia Eames at luciaeames.com

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