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Molded Plywood Sculpture

Ray Eames


This is one of two extant large-scale molded plywood sculptures by Ray and Charles Eames. The second, very comparable to this in shape and form, was exhibited in 1944 at MoMA’s 15th anniversary exhibition Art in Progress: Design for Use flanked by Constantin Brancusi's Bird in Space and an airplane propeller on an adjacent pedestal. A third sculpture of similar scale, but different shape, was photographed by Charles and used as the cover image for the September 1942 issue of Arts & Architecture magazine (present whereabouts unknown). The sculpture has a stenciled paper label dated 1943, suggesting the year of manufacture. It also bears the paper label, “CONNECTIONS 1976,” indicating that it was in the UCLA exhibition Connections: The Work of Charles and Ray Eames.

  • Medium:Walnut
  • Dimensions:37 x 27 x 9 in. (94 x 68.6 x 22.9 cm)
  • Credit Line:All images courtesy of Eames Office
  • Item:2019.2.36
Curatorial Notes
“There were a couple of sculptures. They were not just done as sculptures, as such. It was really a way of testing ... So much was learned from those. There were two major pieces. They were attempts to discover as much as we could about the nature of the wood and plywood—how far we could take compound curves and how much it could be varied in thickness. And we would build up thickness and experimented by instead of having all layers equal, but introducing tapered layers of the same balance construction. We could go from an edge that was very, very thin and then thicken it to have a real mass at one point so that one edge of the wood would be very thin and the other would be quite thick, and how far it could curve.”

Ray Eames