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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. She later illustrated a number of children's books. She died in New York at the age of 102. Alice DeLamar, the retiring American heiress who came to Paris as an ambulance driver during the First War, bequeathed Eyre de Lanux and Eva Le Gallienne enough money to keep them through extreme old age.
Blessed with a haunting, thoroughbred beauty and married in 1918 to an adoring writer and diplomat—granted, her marriage to Pierre Combret de Lanux, known as a brilliant conversationalist, was an open one—Eyre de Lanux relocated to Paris after her wedding. There, she became known as Eyre—a striking and androgynous rebranding—and drifted into the heady orbit of the lesbian heiress and poet Natalie Clifford Barney, a self-proclaimed Amazon who embraced her fellow American’s beauty, spirit, and fluid sexuality. “I not only know the way to you, but the way to bring others to you.…” a smitten Barney wrote. “A turn of your head, a turn of your soul—I am there.” Other dalliances followed, with artist Romaine Brooks (who painted her while also carrying on an affair with Barney), Surrealist poet Louis Aragon (who wrote at least one poem about her), novelist Pierre Drieu la Rochelle (he complained that he couldn’t successfully romance her away from “her impotent husband, her dykey friends”), and carpet designer Evelyn Wyld, her business partner. The amorous daisy chain also included Consuelo Urisarri Ford, a married American novelist, to whom Eyre wrote impassioned love letters decorated with nude images of them both.
She was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the eldest daughter of Richard Derby Eyre (1869-1955) and Elizabeth Krieger Eyre (d. 1938).
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.
by Arnold Genthe
Eyre de Lanux and Consuelo Urisarri Ford by Arnold Genthe
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. Their daughter, Anne-Françoise, nicknamed "Bikou," was born December 19, 1925.
In 1943, de Lanux was included in Peggy Guggenheim's show Exhibition by 31 Women at the Art of This Century gallery in New York.
When the newly married couple settled in Paris their circle included André Gide, Ernest Hemingway, and Bernard Berenson. Though married, de Lanux was bisexual. Her lovers reportedly included Pierre Drieu La Rochelle and Louis Aragon.
She is best known as having been one of the many long-term lesbian lovers of writer and artist Natalie Barney. 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.
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.
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