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Object Timeline

1952

  • Work on this object began.

1964

  • We acquired this object.

2013

2014

2015

2020

  • You found it!

Panel, Minnows in a Net, 1952

This is a Panel. It was designed by Mariska Karasz and embroidered by Mariska Karasz. It is dated 1952 and we acquired it in 1964. Its medium is linen and its technique is embroidered and appliquéd on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles Department department.

“It’s not how you do a stitch, it’s what you do with it” was Mariska Karasz’s exhortation to would-be embroiderers. Serving as guest needlework editor for House Beautiful magazine from 1951 – 53, the artist wrote needlework lessons with suggestions for adding unique decorative embroidery to bedding, table linens and curtains. But her instruction was never prescriptive; rather, she encouraged her readers to explore materials and manipulate stitches to their own expressive purposes. Karasz, who was friends with several of the Abstract Expressionist painters, often described her work in those terms, focusing on self-expression, present emotion, and spontaneity.
Although her tone was inclusive, Karasz was an accomplished artist who had over fifty solo exhibitions in the short decade that she was creating abstract embroideries. Born in Budapest, Karasz moved to the United States in 1914, and was a successful clothing designer before beginning to create embroidered wall hangings. This linen panel with nets and fish formed the headboard of a bed with a matching embroidered bedspread, and was featured on the cover of House Beautiful’s Creative Stitchery Series Lessons 6 and 7.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Sleeping with the Fishes.

It is credited Gift of Elizabeth Gordon.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 44.5 x 98 cm (17 1/2 x 38 9/16 in.)

Cite this object as

Panel, Minnows in a Net, 1952; Designed by Mariska Karasz (American, b. Hungary, 1898–1960); USA; linen; H x W: 44.5 x 98 cm (17 1/2 x 38 9/16 in.); Gift of Elizabeth Gordon; 1964-35-8

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18451995/ |title=Panel, Minnows in a Net, 1952 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=5 August 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>