Skip to content

Lucia Eames Photomontage

Herbert Matter

c. 1945

This photomontage was made by Swiss-born photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter, who worked with the Eameses in the early 1940s. Matter had come to the United States in 1936 and soon began freelancing for high-profile magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. During the same period his wife, Mercedes Carles, studied abstract painting under Hans Hofmann with Ray in New York. In 1943, after relocating to the West Coast, he started working for the Evans Products Company as the in-house photographer for the Molded Plywood Division. Matter’s distinctive approach to photography entailed dramatic lighting and framing, and he also experimented with photograms and photomontage. This example of the latter replicates a portrait of Charles’s daughter, Lucia Eames, many times over. At lower right, her profile is disrupted by a grid of repeated images; at upper left, her portrait appears over an industrial machine—likely one used in the production process of Eames plywood furniture. The photomontage was displayed in the Eames Office near a fake diploma that Saul Steinberg made as a gift for Charles in 1950, and the two pieces appear together in a memorable portrait of Charles gazing admiringly at the diploma.

  • Medium:Photograph
  • Dimensions:14 x 10 3/4 in. (35.6 x 27.3 cm)
  • Item:LD.046