Maria Pergay is a French designer known for exquisite furniture pieces combining stainless steel and wood. Pergay has been described as an iron hand in a velvet glove, as she has been creating elegant furniture using stainless steel for over 40 years. When she started using these materials, she said they were only used in casserole pots. She wanted to reveal the nobility of the material and add a touch of femininity.
In Drape Cabinet, Pergay uses macassar ebony, an ornate streaked and mottled wood of an East Indian ebony tree, draped around a stainless steel cabinet. Using the giant safety pin, she injects a playful spirit into the work. She looks less to create functional objects, rather to imagine objects with humor.
Born in 1930 in Moldova, Maria Pergay immigrated to France in 1937. She studied costume and scene decoration at the IDHEC and sculpture under the direction of Ossip Zadkine at the Grande Chaumiere in Paris.
In the 1950s, Pergay began her career creating iron objects for window displays and by 1960 she had opened her own Paris gallery. She was one of the first to design modern silver objects for fashion houses like Hermes and Jansen and helped define the decorative style of the 1970s with her stainless-steel creations. Her work has been exhibited internationally with recent shows in Paris and New York. Pergay lives in Paris.
Image courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York