Margaret Israel

San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts

Accession no: 2007.3.9 Type of work: ceramic
Current location: Prep Room, Blue cabinets
Artist/creator: Margaret Israel
Variant forms of names: Margaret Ponce Israel; Marge Israel
Born: 1929 in Havana, Cuba Died: 1987 in New York

Artist biography: Magaret Ponce Israel was a painter and ceramist who lived and worked in New York City. She was married to New York artist Marvin Israel. She died when she was 57 years old in Manhattan. She was hit by a tractor-trailer while riding her bike on West 23rd Street. Her studio/home was a three story building in Manhattan that was once a horse stable. A prolific ceramist, her Manhattan studio was overflowing with artwork. There she also housed a bantam rooster, guinea hens, doves, a rabbit, dogs, and a cat. Her works depict many of these animals, and an exhibit of her work, "A Domestic Bestiary," was at the Perimeter Gallery in Chicago in Februrary, 1998. She taught at Parsons School of Design; Greenwich House Pottery; Music and Art High School for Gifted Children; Y.M.H.A.; all in NYC, and at Ecole des Beaux Arts; Stanley William Hayter Graphic Art Studio; Atelier 17; and, Academie de la Grande Chaumiere all in Paris, France. 

Title of work: White Mug, Blue Design
Date of item: 1988
Signed: On the bottom of the cup 3 letters are stamped into the clay, M P and I.
Dimensions: 4” h x 5” w (10.16 x 12.7 cm)

Description: A rounded, footless cup which is slightly wider at the bottom than at the top. It is finished in a white glaze with a pale gray/blue tint, slightly mottled in appearance. A cobalt blue, floral-type design is on either side of the cup along with a much smaller blue design by the handle. The rounded handle starts about ½” from the rim and curves down to about ½” from the base. The handle is ringed in 5 essentially equally spaced areas along the length of the handle with silver paint into which a piece of pale blue ribbon has been wound around and tied, and dried into the silver paint.

Material: porcelain, ribbon
Medium: ceramic
Country of origin: U.S.A.

Artist’s statement about work: My work is decorative, in the sense that I intend it to reach you very quickly, on a level of pure enjoyment. And I use familiar themes because it’s an easy way to communicate with people. I think of it all as a journey where the adventure lies in seeing how one thing works with another. (New York Times Interview, 1979).

Condition: Overall good condition with some minor flaws as noted in Condition Report dated Dec. 3, 2010.
Provenance: Gift
Donor information: Garth Clark, Garth Clark Gallery, New York
History of object: Received at San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts as a gift from Garth Clark of Garth Clark Gallery, New York, in December 2006

Cataloger name: K. Zimmerly
Sources used: artist’s file; website:;