Sugar bowl with lid

Designer Ilonka Karasz American
Manufacturer Paye & Baker Mfg. Co. American

Not on view

In 1913 Ilonka Karasz immigrated to the United States from Budapest, where she had attended the Royal School of Arts and Crafts. In the late 1920s, she joined a number of modernist designer groups, including the American Designers Gallery, for which she exhibited interiors in 1928 and 1929, and the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen, an organization of more than one hundred modernist designers dedicated to elevating standards in contemporary design. She had a very successful career designing furniture, textiles, ceramics, wallpaper, and metalwork.

Karasz designed this sugar bowl as part of a coffee and tea service for the Paye & Baker Mfg. Co. This service, comprising circles, cylinders, and cones, would seem to indicate that Karasz was highly influenced by the Bauhaus focus on geometric form as the basis of design. The only purely decorative element in the piece is the reeding around the body. Reeding and fluting, which themselves could be viewed as cylindrical forms, appear to have been acceptable exceptions to a reliance on pure form in American modernist silver of the period. Karasz may also have been influenced by Jean Puiforcat, whose "Sphere" tea and coffee service designed in 1928, also features projecting cylindrical dowel handles.

Sugar bowl with lid, Ilonka Karasz (American (born Hungary) Budapest 1896–1981 New York, New York), Electroplated nickel silver, walnut

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Clockwise from top: Water pot (1998.537.26), coffee pot (1979.219.1ab), tea pot (1979.219.2ab), sugar bowl (1979.219.4ab), creamer (1979.219.3)