Eames: The Architect And The Painter

On Monday night AMERICAN MASTERS will premiere the independent film, EAMES THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER.  From 1941 to 1978, Ray and Charles Eames worked to create fantastic mid-century modern furniture, built from novel materials like molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent metal wire and aluminum — offering consumers beautiful,functional, yet inexpensive products.

The Eames, a husband-and-wife team, brought unique talents to their partnership. He was an architect by training, she was a painter and sculptor. Together they are considered America’s most important and influential designers, whose work helped shape the second half of the 20th century and remains culturally vital and commercially popular today. If you aren’t familiar with their name you will be with their designs.

A.O. Scott of  The New York Times reviews the documentary, …”This documentary’s portrait of the Eameses is hardly idealized. Like Walt Disney — and like Steve Jobs — Charles Eames did not share credit. His name alone went on the studio’s products. And though Ray was his equal partner and indispensable collaborator, the sexism of the age pushed her, at least publicly, into the margins.

The film includes an appalling, hilarious appearance the two of them made on “Home,” in which the chipper hostess takes great pains to keep Ray in her silent, subordinate place, making Charles the reluctant center of attention. Later their marriage was tested by his infidelity, and their partnership was weakened by a loss of common creative purpose. After Charles died in 1978, Ray tried to keep their work going until her death 10 years later.

AMERICAN MASTERS: EAMES: THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER airs Monday, December 19 at 9:00pm on WOSU TV with an encore presentation on Tuesday, December 20 at 9:00pm on WOSUPLUS.