Artist

Mariska Karasz

born Budapest, Hungary 1898-died Danbury, CT 1960
Born
Budapest, Hungary
Died
Danbury, Connecticut, United States
Active in
  • Brewster, New York, United States
Nationalities
  • American
Biography

Self-taught embroiderer Mariska Karasz arrived in the United States from her native Hungary at the age of sixteen. The influence of Hungary's rich folk-art tradition is reflected in her early work. As her interest in fiber art developed, Karasz began to incorporate silk, line, cotton, wool, thread, hemp, horsehair, and wood into her fiber hangings. Her materials were carefully chosen for their texture, color, and any unusual quality, such as an inconsistent dye in the yarn.

Kenneth R. Trapp and Howard Risatti Skilled Work: American Craft in the Renwick Gallery (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998)

Luce Artist Biography

Mariska Karasz grew up in Hungary and moved to New York after high school. After studying at Cooper Union Art School, she took some of her handmade blouses into Wanamaker's department store, where her clothing sold so well that the store gave Karasz her own department. After her first daughter was born, she gave up designing clothes because she wanted to devote her time to being a mother. But she soon discovered that she was unhappy with store-bought children's clothes and decided to continue making her own. As her children grew up, Karasz focused more on wall hangings and furnishings, experimenting with traditional embroidery and appliqué techniques.

Exhibitions

Media - 2016.11 - SAAM-2016.11_6 - 124929
Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery
November 13, 2015March 6, 2022
Connections is the Renwick Gallery’s dynamic ongoing permanent collection presentation, featuring more than 80 objects celebrating craft as a discipline and an approach to living differently in the modern world. The installation includes iconic favorites alongside new acquisitions.
Media - 2019.15 - SAAM-2019.15_1 - 137377
Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women
May 31, 2024January 5, 2025
The artists in Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women mastered and subverted the everyday materials of cotton, felt, and wool to create deeply personal artworks. This exhibition presents an alternative history of twentieth-century American art by showcasing the work of artists such as Emma Amos, Sheila Hicks, and Faith Ringgold, who, stitch by stitch, utilized fiber materials to express their personal stories and create resonant and intricate artworks.