Charles was a designer with an eye for form. Ray was an artist with an eye for color. They complemented each other on projects like coat hangers, films, their namesake chairs, and large architectural projects. Through four decades of creative work, they revolutionized design and created an indelible mark on American History. The duo was not without faults, but the pair proved to be inseparable and inspirational. They were the Eameses.
The Eames studio—part workshop, part circus— was a partnership of two free spirits: one, an architecture school dropout who never got his license; the other, a painter trained by Hans Hofmann who used objects or any other surface as her canvases. They shunned the term “artist” as pompous.
Charles and Ray Eames arrived in Los Angeles in 1941, a year after they met at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Charles was married to his first wife, Catherine at the time, but Ray began assisting him and Eero Saarinen in their designs for the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Design in Home Furnishings Competition, and soon he divorced Catherine and married Ray.
There is always a karmic danger in marrying someone with whom you committed adultery. The women at the company almost uniformly describe him as charismatic. At one point (that we know of), Charles was looking to leave Ray, and was only stopped because the woman confesses, she couldn’t do that to Ray. (https://ageofthegeek.org/2011/11/23/eames-the-architect-and-the-painter-or-why-feminism-matters/ ), Pasadena Art & Science Beat,
Their partnership, which obliterated the distinctions between private and professional lives, inspired numerous contemporary working marriages…Charles and Ray, architect and artist, wanted to do everything — disciplinary boundaries meant nothing to them — and, by and large, succeeded.
In 1979, Congress grants a Vietnam War veterans’ committee the right to build a memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., dedicated to American soldiers killed in the conflict in Vietnam. The committee puts the design out for competition convening a blue-ribbon panel of architects, sculptors, and landscape architects to evaluate more than 1,400 submissions. When the winner is announced, no one is more surprised than the student architect herself, Maya Lin, a 20-year-old Yale undergraduate. The panel is moved by the simplicity, honesty, and power of Lin’s design: a V-shaped, sunken wall of black stone, with the names of those killed in action engraved in chronological order. To search out a loved one, a mourner will walk along the monument and find the name among the 57,661 listed. Lin describes the Memorial thus: “I went to see the site. I had a general idea that I wanted to describe a journey…a journey that would make you experience death and where you’d have to be an observer, where you could never really fully be with the dead. It wasn’t going to be something that was going to say, ‘It’s all right, it’s all over,’ because it’s not.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/visualarts/thewall_a.html
For her life’s work, Lin was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2009, and a film about the artist, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, won the 1994 Oscar for best documentary. Lin has served as a board member of the National Resources Defense Council and a member of the World Trade Center Site Memorial design jury. In 2016, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama. https://www.biography.com/people/maya-lin-37259
Spotlight: Maya Lin~ https://www.archdaily.com/774717/spotlight-maya-lin