Self-portrait in Christmas ornament (ca. 1950s) by Charles Eames

Eames Office Flickr photostream: “Self-portrait in Christmas ornament” by Charles Eames, ca. 1950s. © Eames Office, 2011.

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Charles Eames, along with his wife Ray Eames, are widely considered to be among the most prolific and the most important American designers of the twentieth century.
Aside from their names, their reputation and some images of plywood chairs, I don’t know much about them. That’s why I was really happy to learn that a new documentary about the iconic couple was just released a few weeks ago. Eames: The Architect and the Painter was directed by Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey and produced by First Run Features. From the official Press Release:

Despite their unrivaled impact on American design, the personas of the steadfastly private Charles and Ray Eames have remained oblique beyond the giddy publicity photos they doled out to inquiring journalists while they were alive. Eames: The Architect and the Painter draws extensively from a virgin cache of archival material, visually stunning films, love letters, photographs and artifacts produced in mind-boggling volume by Charles and Ray with their talented staff during the hyper-creative forty-year epoch of the Eames Office.

The film opened in Los Angeles on November 18, 2011 and managed to gather mostly positive reviews (see how it scored over at Metacritic). The DVD is already available for online order at First Run Features. Watch the trailer below:

Charles and Ray Eames grandson Demetrios Eames also liked the film. He’s himself a filmmaker and is also very engaged into preserving the Eames legacy. He wrote about his impressions (“Mostly very positive, with a few cautions”) in a long post over at Das Film Fest (which he also curates): “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” (December 19, 2011). Ten years ago, he published his very own book about the Eames: An Eames Primer (Universe Publishing, 2001). More recently, on July 2009, he gave a TED Talk (Flash is required) about his grand parents work and creative process. I embedded the video below:

There are a lot of excellent resources online about Charles and Ray Eames. The first and foremost is the official Eames Office website. The site belongs to the Eames Fondation founded by Lucia Eames, the daughter of Charles Eames and herself a designer of furniture. She’s also currently acting as the Principal of the Eames Office website (more info about the Eames Foundation Board of Directors).
Aside from managing the Flickr photstream where I found Charles Eames’ self-portrait, The Eames Office also run Eames Design: “A Virtual enclyclopedia of all things Eames”. Also worth mentioning is a permanent exhibition online about the Eames curated by The Library of Congress: “The Work of Charles & Ray Eames. A Legacy of Invention”.

Official poster for the documentary Eames: The Architect and the Painter (Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey, 2011)
Official poster for the documentary Eames: The Architect and he Painter (Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey, 2011)

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