This promotional brochure for the Trees mural designed by Ilonka Karasz in 1960 contains a lot of information packed in an attractive format. This is printed in the luxograph process which was the same technique used to print the full-size murals. This technique was a blueprint method introduced by Katzenbach & Warren in 1947 for printing the first collection of murals designed by Karasz. The original artwork for these wallpapers was hand-drawn to scale in graphite and ink on linen. The wallpapers are a photographic reproduction from a blueprint negative of the original artwork and could be purchased in either the positive or negative format. The luxograph process was the printing technique preferred by Karasz as it picked up all the fine detail and intricacies of her original drawings.
The cover of the brochure shows a detail of Trees in actual size and color. The interior shows the full mural in miniature in a positive print (dark-colored design on a light background) along with a single panel in a negative print (light-colored design on dark background.) The murals were available in twelve different color combinations of pigment and paper, as well as positive and negative versions. The folder also contains illustrations showing suggested uses for the panels to achieve different decorative effects. Karasz’s murals were designed to be flexible as individual panels could be installed, as well as the full set, and multiple sets could be used to continue the design across the wall or around the room. Fold-out flaps include informative text on the luxograph process and Ilonka Karasz, along with a brief paragraph describing each of the mural scenes. Trees was one of five murals in this collection that were produced for and distributed by Design Group, an artist collective established by Karasz. This collection was the last group of murals designed by Karasz.
This brochure is currently on view in “Ilonka Karasz, Works from the Collection” at the Cooper Hewitt, October 27, 2017 – April 28, 2018. The exhibition contains nearly thirty works by Karasz highlighting the variety of materials she worked with including wallpaper, murals, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, and of course, one of her New Yorker magazine covers.