Skip to content

ECS Graphic Study

Ray Eames


This drawing is an early study by Ray for a flyer promoting the Eames Contract Storage, or ECS, system of modular furniture that was produced by Herman Miller beginning in 1961. It includes a rough sketch of two human figures standing side-by-side, each portrayed in a slightly different upright pose with one extended arm. “Dürer” is one of several notes made above them, indicating that the figures were inspired, at least in part, by the work of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. Specifically, they reference Dürer’s studies of human proportions, which explored the beauty to be found in a wide variety of human bodies and were published posthumously as the Four Books on Human Proportions in 1528. Dürer’s embrace of human diversity challenged the singular and idealized representations of the human form that were prevailing in his time, epitomized by Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic drawing of the Vitruvian Man. By including this reference in promotional material for the ECS system, the Eameses seem to be suggesting that their designs do not envision one particular ideal user, but are instead intended to be useful to everyone and anyone.

  • Medium:Ink on paper
  • Dimensions:8 1/2 x 11 in. (21.6 x 27.9 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.2.261