Ceramic Artist Eva Zeisel Passes Away at 105

Eva Zeisel

Eva Zeisel

NEW YORK — Eva Zeisel, the industrial designer known for her work with ceramics, passed away Dec. 30, 2011. She was 105 years old.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, on Nov. 13, 1906, Zeisel began working in ceramics in the 1920s, designing her first tableware for a German ceramics manufacturer in 1928, according to online reports. After living in Germany, including Berlin, she moved to Russia, where she was falsely accused of trying to assassinate Joseph Stalin and so was imprisoned for 16 months, mostly in solitary confinement. After she was released, she married Hans Zeisel, and they emigrated to the United States in 1938.

Zeisel was known for her work primarily from the period after she immigrated to the U.S. In the 1940s, she was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York to design a line of fine porcelain dinnerware for the Castleton China Company. Though the production of the line was delayed because of wartime restriction, it was presented at a one-woman show at MoMA.

Among her numerous collaborations include designing products for Nambe, Royal Stafford, Design Within Reach, Chantal and The Rug Company. In 2006, grandson Adam Zeisel launched Eva Zeisel Originals, offering Zeisel-designed tables, candelabra and giftware. Her honors included receiving the Living Legend Award at Pratt Institute, where she taught for years, the Russel Wright Award for Design Excellence and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Pre-deceased by her husband, she is survived by two children and three grandchildren, according to online reports.