American, 1896 - 1981
Desk, c. 1928
H. 28-1/2 x W. 48 x D. 35-1/2 in.
In a career spanning more than fifty years, Ilonka Karasz produced work ranging from graphic and textile design to integrated interiors and commissioned furniture. Born in Budapest, she moved in 1913 to New York, then an inviting new world for many émigré artists.
A lifelong advocate of modernity, Karasz participated in numerous artist publications and collaboratives, such as the American Designers’ Gallery exhibitions in 1928 and 1929. For the first exhibition, she designed two fully furnished rooms, one being a studio apartment that included this unique desk. Along with affinities to Bauhaus, de Stijl, and American Art Deco (Art Moderne), the desk has a Japanese quality resulting from the combination of simplified form and a rich, lacquerlike surface. The desk was selected by Art and Antiques magazine as one of the "Top 100 Treasures" of 1996, the year it was acquired for Norwest Corporation’s Modernism Collection.