Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eva Zeisel dies at 105

Eva Zeisel, a ceramic artist, died December 30, 2011 in New York City, N.Y. at age 105. She saw her work as a "playful search for beauty". She was born in Budapest on November 13, 1906. Her maiden name was Eva Amalia Striker. An aunt's Hungarian peasant pottery collection inspired her to become a ceramist. In 1925 she visited Paris. In 1930 she moved to Berlin. In 1932 she visited the Ukraine. By 1935 she was working in Moscow, but was arrested in 1936, falsely accused by a colleague. She was imprisoned for 16 months. A friend, Arthur Koestler, drew upon her experience in writing his 1941 novel DARKNESS AT NOON. She was released without explanation in 1937 and went to Vienna. In 1938, upon the Nazi's arrival in Austria, she escaped to Britain. In London she was reunited with Hans Zeisel, a lawyer and sociologist whom she had met in Berlin. They married and then emigrated to the United States soon after. During her second day in New York, she went to the public library to look up addresses of trade publications. In 1939 she began teaching ceramics as industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She left her teaching position in 1954 and then designed collections of ceramics, glass and metal, including rugs, furniture and lighting fixtures. Her book "Eval Zeisel on Design" was published in 2004. She remained active almost until the end of her life. Eva Zeisel is survived by a daughter and a son and three grandchildren. Her husband, Hans Zeisel, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, died in 1992. For more information on Eva Zeisel, check out:
Pictures of Eva Zeisel and her designs (outside link)

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