ABOUT EVA ZEISEL
Born in Budapest, Eva Stricker (Hungarian, 1906–2011) entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at age 17 intending to become a painter, but her mother urged her to apprentice for a traditional potter instead. A year after attaining journeyman status, her work was displayed at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial where she won an honorable mention. Zeisel worked as a designer in the Kispester Factory in Budapest, but she went on to travel widely throughout Europe to broaden her horizons and develop her skills at pottery.
Zeisel moved to Russia in 1932, eager to experience the artistic and social movements sweeping the country. She was offered a position assisting in the modernization of the ceramic industry, which required her to travel across Russia to understand the industry and coordinate the creation of a central manufactory. Proving her skills, Zeisel was eventually appointed national Artistic Director for the Porcelain and Glass Industries.
In 1936, she was accused of political dissent during the Stalinist purges and imprisoned for 16 months. She was subjected to solitary confinement and other forms of torture before being released and put on a train to Austria. Escaping the Anschluss, she continued on to England where she married Hans Zeisel. The couple immigrated to New York in 1938.
Zeisel’s accolades include a commission from The Museum of Modern Art to design a line of porcelain dinnerware, which was presented as part of an exhibition in 1947. She also taught ceramic arts and industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, from 1939 to 1952 and lectured widely thereafter. In 2005, she received Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Ziesel’s works are part of numerous collections including the Brohan Museum in Berlin, The British Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Zeisel regularly produced new designs up until her death in 2011, at age 105.