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Mural, East of the Sun

This is a Mural. It was designed by Ilonka Karasz and manufactured by Katzenbach and Warren, Inc.. It is dated 1960 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is blueprint method. It is a part of the Wallcoverings department.

This group of eleven objects designed by Ilonka Karasz contains seven mural panels, three full-scale drawings for murals, and a sample book. It includes panels from five different murals and forms two complete mural sets and three incomplete sets. Each of these mural panels captures the delicate line work and flattened perspective that are signatures of Ilonka’s work.

All of Karasz’s murals were cleverly designed to allow for flexibility in installation, as the panels could be used alone as well as in full sets. Multiple sets could also be used together as the first panel matches up with the last panel. Because these panels were also designed to be used alone, the single panels and incomplete sets would still be viable for exhibitions and help illustrate the designer’s work.

The murals were all printed in the blueprint method, a technique developed by American wallpaper company Katzenbach & Warren to print wallpapers in 1947. Also referred to as mezzotone or luxograph prints, the technique makes a positive dark-on-light print of a blueprint negative. This was the production method Karasz preferred for her murals as it clearly picked up the intricacies and nuances of her detailed graphite and ink drawings.

There is evidence Karasz designed textiles and wallcoverings as early as 1915, though her wallpaper career didn’t take off until the postwar period when she began designing wallpapers exclusively for Katzenbach and Warren. In 1960 she introduced a collection of murals for the Design Group, Inc., a company she founded in Brewster, New York. This included new designs along with the reintroduction of some earlier murals. These were the first murals executed for the Design Group and the last collection of murals designed by Karasz.

Cooper Hewitt has the largest collection of Ilonka Karasz wallcoverings. This includes a number of her repeating patterns, miniatures of most of her mural designs, and marketing brochures with installation suggestions. The full-size panels are much more dramatic than the miniatures and allow the intricate nature of her drawing to be more visible, while the drawings allow the museum to illustrate the design process. The hand-drawn murals of Ilonka are the finest examples of her wallpaper designs and the addition of these large mural panels and full-scale drawings would greatly increase the scope of her work within the museum collection. In addition to the Karasz wallcoverings the museum collection also includes her textile and carpet designs, several pieces of silver-plated tableware and drawings for her tableware, and covers for The New Yorker.

This object was donated by Matthew L. Edelman. It is credited Gift of Matthew L. Edelman.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 255.9 × 87.6 cm (8 ft. 4 3/4 in. × 34 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Mural, East of the Sun; Designed by Ilonka Karasz ((American, born Hungary, 1896–1981)); blueprint method; H x W x D: 255.9 × 87.6 cm (8 ft. 4 3/4 in. × 34 1/2 in.); Gift of Matthew L. Edelman; 2016-37-7

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108750155/ |title=Mural, East of the Sun |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=15 August 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>