Eyre de Lanux

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Eyre de Lanux, born Elizabeth Eyre, (March 20, 1894 – September 8, 1996), was an American artist, writer, and designer. De Lanux is best known for designing lacquered furniture and geometric patterned rugs, in the art deco style, in Paris during the 1920s.[1] She later illustrated a number of children's books. She died in New York at the age of 102.

Early life and career[edit]

She was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the eldest daughter of Richard Derby Eyre (1869-1955) and Elizabeth Krieger Eyre (d. 1938).[2]

She studied art at the Art Students League in Manhattan and exhibited two paintings, L'Arlesienne and Allegro in the first annual exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917.

In 1918 she met and married, French writer and diplomat, Pierre Combret de Lanux (1887-1955) in New York. After the end of World War I they moved to Paris.[3] Their daughter, Anne-Françoise, nicknamed "Bikou," was born December 19, 1925.

Personal relationships[edit]

When the newly married couple settled in Paris their circle included André Gide, Ernest Hemingway, and Bernard Berenson. Though married, de Lanux was bisexual.

She is best known as having been one of the many long-term lesbian lovers of writer and artist Natalie Barney.[4] The two met through common friends, at Barney's popular Paris Salon and became an on-again-off-again couple for many years.

Due in part to Jean Chalon's early biography of Barney, published in English as Portrait of a Seductress: The World of Natalie Barney, she has become more widely known for her many relationships than for her writing or her salon.[5] She once wrote out a list, divided into three categories: liaisons, demi-liaisons, and adventures.

Colette, a French novelist and performer, was a demi-liaison, while the artist and furniture designer Eyre de Lanux, with whom she had an off-and-on affair for several years, was listed as an adventure. While Barney certainly took other lovers while she and de Lanux were involved romantically, it is unknown as to whether de Lanux did the same. What is known is that even after the affair ended, the two remained close friends.


Her designs first came into notice during the early 1920s, and were often exhibited with those of designers Eileen Gray and Jean-Michel Frank. While still in France, she wrote short stories of her European travels. In 1955, her husband died. Shortly afterward, she returned to the U.S., and in the 1960s she wrote for Harper's Bazaar.

In her later years she wrote and illustrated a number of children's books. She died at the age of 102, at the Dewitt Nursing Home in Manhattan.


  1. ^ "Elizabeth Eyre de Lanux". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "Eyre de Lanux papers, 1865-1995 - biographical information". Archives of American Art. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  3. ^ Reif, Rita (10 September 1996). "Elizabeth Eyre de Lanux, 102, Art Deco Designer By". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Corinne, Tee A (2002), "Subjects of the Visual Arts: Nude Females", glbtq.com, retrieved 2007-12-04 
  5. ^ "I would be asked at dinner parties what I was working on and, replying, 'Natalie Clifford Barney,' I expected the usual post Jean Chalon response, 'What? The lesbian Don Juan?'" Livia (1992), 181.

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