Ilonka Karasz (American, born Hungary, 18961981)
Teak wood; H. 29 1/2 in. (69.8 cm), W. 21 5/8 in. (54.6 cm), D. 21 5/8 in. (54.6 cm); seat H. 11 3/4 in. (39.7 cm)
Purchase, Theodore R. Gamble Jr. Gift, in honor of his mother, Mrs. Theodore Robert Gamble, 1983 (1983.228.5)
The Hungarian artist Ilonka Karasz was educated at the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in Budapest, emigrating to America at an early age. She worked as a designer and interior decorator, as well as a painter and illustrator, contributing dozens of New Yorker cover illustrations during her career. Karasz was highly successful and productive in a field almost entirely dominated by men. As a designer, she worked in a number of media, including metalwork, textiles, ceramics, and furniture. This teak chair is typical of her furniture designs of the 1920s30s. In its angular, geometric form, it is clearly influenced by early twentieth-century European designs, notably those of the Viennese architect and designer Josef Hoffmann, whose son Wolfgang was a personal friend. Much of her furniture of this period, including this chair, is made of unpainted exotic woods, emphasizing their planar, geometric forms and lack of ornament.