Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Inkwell

Designer:
Eva Zeisel (American, Budapest 1906–2011 New City, New York)
Manufacturer:
Schramberg Majolica Factory (Schramberg, Germany)
Date:
1929–30
Medium:
Glazed earthenware
Dimensions:
3 3/8 x 9 x 9 3/8 in. (8.6 x 22.9 x 23.8 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics-Pottery
Credit Line:
Gift of the artist, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.440a-c
Not on view
In 1928 the Hungarian-born Eva Zeisel began working as a ceramic designer at the Schramberg Majolica Factory in Schramberg, Germany. She had previously worked in Hamburg, where the International Style architecture of many new buildings had a strong influence on her work. While in Hamburg, she became aware of the design principles of the Deutsche Werkbund and the Bauhaus, which emphasized stylistic purity and insisted that form be derived from function. The whimsical folk-art style that had characterized much of her early work was replaced in the late 1920s by a severe architectonic geometry.


Zeisels's glazed-earthenware inkwell, designed while she was at Schramberg, consists of two units: a combined ink pot–pen tray and a pencil tray. The composition resembles a tiny architectural model. The vibrant orange glaze boldly highlights the strong horizontal lines and undecorated surfaces; by using such saturated color Zeisel successfully transcended the cool "soulless" quality of modernist design principles.

the designer, New York (until 1995; her gift to MMA)

Brooklyn Museum. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," October 6–November 18, 1984, no. 19.

The Art Institute of Chicago. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," December 8, 1984–January 20, 1985, no. 19.

The Flint Institute of Art. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," February 9–March 24, 1985, no. 19.

Syracuse. Everson Museum of Art. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," April 13–May 26, 19885, no. 19.

St. Louis Art Museum. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," June 15–July 28, 1985, no. 19.

Trenton. New Jersey State Museum. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," October 19–December 1, 1985, no. 19.

Le Chateau Dufresne, Musée des Arts Décoratifs. "Eva Zeisel: Designer for Industry," December 21, 1985–February 2, 1986, no. 19 (lent by the artist).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions of Twentieth-Century Design and Architecture," June 29–November 14, 1999, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Century of Design, Part ll: 1925-1950," May 9–October 29, 2000, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Curator's Eye: J. Stewart Johnson, 1990–2004," March 1–November 6, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Highlights from the Modern Design Collection: 1900 to the Present," June 23, 2009–May 1, 2011, no catalogue.

Jane Adlin in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1995–1996." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 54 (Fall 1996), p. 67, ill. (color).



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