Ilonka Karasz Lesher-Whitman Co.
Ilonka Karasz, American, Oak Leaf, 1928, Mohair wool; plain weave, screen print; Length: 130.2 cm (51 1/4 inches), Mary B. Jackson Fund 2001.70.5
Oak Leaf is an early example of an artist-designed high-end furnishing textile made in America. Ilonka Karasz, an Hungarian émigrée, was an established painter living in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She began designing printed textiles during the 1910s and was an award-winning participant in the “Designed in America” contests sponsored by Women’s Wear and showcased in New York institutions, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. While she excelled in the fine arts, she was equally talented and productive in decorative arts, illustration, and interior design. Her style ranged from representational and whimsical to sophisticated modern abstraction.