As I watched the auction, I remember thinking 'Oh god, is this going to be her legacy'," Sydney Morning Herald
Feburary 24, 2009 marked a historical moment in the design auction world when Irish modernist designer Eileen Gray’s Dragon armchair sold for a whopping $43 million. You’re not misreading this number. Some one shelled out 43 million smackers for a chair. With a dragon on it.
Why Was This Chair Created?
The chair was originally designed and created for Suzanne Talbot between 1917 and 1918 as part of a furniture collection to improve the look of the famous hat designer’s apartment. This chair was created specifically for the Talbot project and was part of the early phase of the artist’s work. You know what they say about the power of word-of-mouth. Obviously, Talbot was very pleased with Gray’s work because the woman helped launch Gray’s career.
Gray became well-known for her bold and eccentric style. Some of her pieces are still in production today, such as the Bonaparte and Bibendum chairs, plus the lacquered “brick” screens that stack together.
What Makes This Chair So Unique
The chair originally came in white to coordinate with the other pieces of Talbot’s furniture. It features sweeping wooden armrests that are shaped like a dragon’s body. Ornate sculptures that depict the heads of the dragons, and an abstract pattern and carved curvatures on their bottoms give the armrests an otherworldly style that draws the attention of anyone who happens to see it. The chair is now covered in brown leather.
What Makes It So Crazy Expensive?
Find out why this chair was auctioned off at a whopping $43 million!
If you are lucky enough to get a glimpse of this chair in person, you will either say, “Wow!” or “Ew!” You definitely have to have a love for the strange and unusual to appreciate this crazy weird chair. That’s why it is so pricey today.
It is considered a work of art by the elite in the furniture design industry. It was not only designed by a famous artist, but it was owned by other famous people, including Yves St. Laurent and Paris-based dealer, Cheska Vallois, who bought it back because of “the price of desire.”
Facts at a Glance
- Created between 1917 and 1919 by Eileen Gray, who became renowned for the luxurious finish of her lacquered furniture.
- Originally created for and owned by Suzanne Talbot, Gray’s first and most important client who helped her work become known.
- The chair originally came in white and has since been changed to brown leather.
- The lacquered wooden armrests come in the shape of two dragons’ bodies which form at the chair’s base, with their tails extended to the back and their bodies moving up to the chair’s arms.
- The heads of the dragons are carved into the armrests.
- The chair measures 61cm high and 91cm wide. (24 x 35 inches)
Do you have a crazily expensive piece of furniture? Tell us all about it on Twitter or drop us a line. We love to hear what people waste their money on. Until next time!