Monday, July 25, 2011

Eva Zeisel, 104, Profiled in The Wall Street Journal

Design legend and Overlook author Eva Zeisel was profiled in The Wall Street Journal this weekend:

"Ms. Zeisel is one of the great modernist designers of the 20th century. But what was she doing in the 21st? She was born around the same time as W.H. Auden, who's been gone for nearly 40 years, and Frida Kahlo, nearly 60. Turns out that at 104, Ms. Zeisel is still creating her "things," as she calls her designs, for companies ranging from Kleinreid to Design Within Reach. The definition of a survivor, Ms. Zeisel was born in Budapest, went to Berlin for the glamorous period of the 1920s and then to Russia in the '30s. "The arts from Russia seemed fresh and appealing," she said. "So I decided to go and see what was behind the mountain." There she had a run-in with Stalin, who imprisoned her for 16 months. In 1938, she arrived in New York with $67 in her pocket and was given the first-ever one-woman show, seven years later, at MoMA."

Zeisel classic work, Eva Zeisel on Design, will be published in an all-new paperback edition in October.

In this richly illustrated, full-color book, the designer presents the ideas that have guided and inspired her. Each aspect of the design process is analyzed--variety, spontaneity, line, contour, shading, and texture, among others--to show how the best works are formed through a dialog between creator and object, the result of which is an environment that is pleasurable, comfortable, and elegant. The language in which this dialog is conducted, "the language of things," is one in which Zeisel's fluency is unparalleled. Her thoughts, read alongside the photos of her stunning creations and those that have inspired her, make this book indispensable to every enthusiast of art, design, and ceramics.

With a trailblazing career that spans more than seventy-five years and continues to this day, with recent creations that include a Martini glass featured in Bombay Sapphire ads and vases for Klein-Reid, Eva Zeisel stands at the forefront of twentieth-century designers. Her works are a reflection of a profoundly independent vision, unconstrained by design conventions, fads, or ideologies, and are featured in the permanent collections of museums throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Her belly-button wall dividers are part of the modern decor in the lobby of Los Angeles's Standard Hotel.


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