A Master's Final Touch
Launched a year after her death, a new line of Italian-made glass lighting fixtures embodies the fluid, sculptural aesthetic that made Eva Zeisel a design icon.
February 15, 2013
When Hungarian-born Eva Zeisel died in 2011 at the age of 105, she left behind a legacy as one of the most influential ceramic artists and designers of her generation. Her achievements, which include being the first woman industrial designer to have a solo show at MoMA in New York and founding the ceramic-industrial-design program at Pratt Institute, are even more impressive in light of her early struggles. Before emigrating to the U.S. in 1938, Zeisel endured a 16-month imprisonment in the Soviet Union during Stalin's reign and an escape from Nazi-occupied Austria.
The Eva Zeisel Collection of handblown Murano glass lighting fixtures, recently launched from Leucos, was “the last thing Eva designed with her own hands before she passed away,” says Leucos USA president Josie A. Anthony, who first met with Zeisel on the project in 2010. Featuring the designer's penchant for sensuous, feminine forms, the line includes pendants, wall sconces, and table lamps in the rotund Summer design and the narrower Spring version. “The glassmakers had to stretch the limits of the art to bring some of the intricacies of Eva's designs to fruition,” says Anthony. Suitable for residential and commercial use, the fixtures come in two colors and fit incandescent and fluorescent lamps.
New York's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) has acquired the drawings, blueprints, molds, prototypes, and final pieces of the line and plans to exhibit them in a future show. “I believe she was one of the most important ceramic designers of the 20th century and on into the 21st,” says MAD curator Ron Labaco. The new fixtures, he adds, “capture the essence of what was quintessentially Eva Zeisel—elegant and voluptuously curvaceous.”
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