Eva Zeisel (Nov. 13, 1906 - Dec. 30, 2011)
She called herself "a maker of useful things". Eva Zeisel, Hungarian industrial designer/ceramist brought the clean, casual shapes of modernist design to the middle-class American table. Her playfully geometric designs were influenced by modern architecture and the human form.
Originally a student of painting, her mother encouraged her to explore ceramics as a practical alternative to fine arts. Eva apprenticed with the last pottery master in the medieval guild system in Hungary.
Like many artists before her, she eventually found her way to Russian, which at the time was a popular destination for artists and intellectuals. While living in Moscow, Eva was arrested and falsely accused of participating in an assassination plot against Joseph Stalin, and was imprisoned for 16 months, mostly in solitary confinement.
She eventually married, and in 1940 she and her husband came to America, where she taught at the Pratt Institute while continuing to work as an artist. In 1946 Eva Zeisel had the first one-woman show at the MoMA. She continued to work well into her 90's and in her later years her designs were featured in Design Within Reach and Crate and Barrel.
"It's easy to do something stunning that stays in a collector's cabinet. But her designs reached people at the table, where they gather" Paola Antonelli - curator of architecture and design at the MoMA.
"The clean lines of modern design can be successfully combined with sensuous, classic shape" Eva Zeisel
"Men have no concept of how to design things for the home. Women should design the things they use" Eva Zeisel
"She's a conduit to pure things" James Klein - ceramist.
If anyone in the New York area is interested (and why wouldn't you be?) Eva Zeisel's work is on permanent display at The Metropolitan Museum, New York Historical Society, MoMA, and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.
I am now officially obsessed! Do you love her work, do you own any?
Have a beautiful day.