Eileen Gray

Eileen Gray movie to tackle Le Corbusier murals controversy

News: the story of how architect Le Corbusier defaced the interior of E.1027, the seminal house designed by fellow modernist Eileen Gray, by painting sexually graphic murals over its walls is to be the subject of a movie.

Called The Price of Desire, the movie stars Irish actor Orla Brady as Gray, with Swiss actor Vincent Perez as Le Corbusier and Canadian musician Alanis Morissette as Gray's lover Marisa Damia.

Alanis Morissette and Orla Brady in The Price of Desire
Alanis Morissette and Orla Brady in The Price of Desire. Photo: Julian Lennon.

Filming is already underway at E.1027, the pioneering modernist home Gray completed at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French coast in 1929 and which is still undergoing a lengthy restoration.

London furniture retailer Zeev Aram, who became a close friend of Irish-born Gray in her later years, and who owns the rights to her designs, provided furniture for the film, and visited the location last month during filming.

"A film is being made on Eileen Gray's life," said Aram. "It will be a proper feature film and we were invited to come and see the film site. The renovation [of the house] is not quite finished but it's progressing."

Eileen Gray E1027 house
E.1027 house

Gray designed and built E.1027 with her lover, Romanian architect and critic Jean Badovici - played by Italian actor Francesco Scianna in the movie - but then moved out of the house when they split up.

Eileen Gray E1027 house
E.1027 house

Badovici, an admirer of Le Corbusier, subsequently invited the Swiss-born architect to stay at the house on several occasions between 1938 and 1939.

Le Corbusier mural at E1027
Le Corbusier mural at E1027. Photo: jpmm.

Le Corbusier painted eight large murals both inside and outside the house, some of which contained sexual imagery. Gray's supporters feel the architect deliberately defaced the work of his rival, but due to Le Corbusier's greater fame, the murals have been preserved.

While Le Corbusier became the most famous and influential of the early modernists, Gray's career was largely forgotten until after her death in 1976.

Eileen Gray E1027 house
E.1027 house interior

Last month Aram launched a website, www.eileengray.co.uk, dedicated to her career and designs. Aram spoke to us about his relationship with Gray in an interview we published yesterday, saying she was "disappointed she was forgotten".

The Price of Desire is a co-production between EG Film Productions Limited and Saga Film. No release date has been announced.