Suzie Zuzek, American Contemporary Artist
Saving the legacy and oeuvre of artist Suzie Zuzek is part of a broad strategy to usher Zuzek into the public consciousness and celebrate
her as a consequential figure in American culture, fashion, & art.
Suzie Zuzek’s enchanting designs are instantly recognizable. They captured our hearts as they catapulted onto the fashion scene, hidden in plain sight on garments by Lilly Pulitzer, 1962-1985. It was Zuzek’s immense creativity and talent as an artist that helped cement the lifestyle phenomenon that influenced a generation of Americans.
A serendipitous discovery of this female artist led to a private group saving this unrivaled oeuvre of original works of art, with many designs never before seen by the public. With this new ownership, Zuzek is being reunited with her oeuvre. The generations of enthusiasts who are just learning Zuzek’s name and origin story can take comfort in knowing that her works are now with us for many years to come.
The artist Suzie Zuzek created over fifteen hundred watercolor paintings for Key West Hand Print Fabrics, Inc., the design house used by, and ultimately owned by, Lilly Pulitzer when she owned her eponymous brand, 1962 -1985. Lilly bought a controlling interest in KWHPF in late 1980. This archive of two-dimensional works of art, along with all of the related copyrights, was sold in 1985 by Lilly in her company's bankruptcy to a group of Key West investors. Lilly Pulitzer’s TM name alone – 13 letters – was sold eight years later in 1993 to a separate group, Sugartown Worldwide, LLC, and they did not buy back the archive or copyrights and therefore have never owned one design from 1962-1993. Oxford, Inc. bought the Lilly Pulitzer company for $60M in 2010 without owning the first thirty years of their design heritage.
A private group from Saint Louis purchased (saved) the archive (art and related IP-copyrights 2,000+) in 2016 from the Key West investors who purchased from Lilly in 1985. (Provenance perfect.) For the first time, the Zuzek oeuvre has been conserved and catalogued to museum standards and enjoyed its debut in a monograph exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York 2021-2022.
This body of work (copyrighted designs) is immediately available to be put to use, including as a strategic collaboration (license) with a like-minded global brand who values authenticity, heritage and quality. The Zuzek designs represent an iconic, inimitable American aesthetic now reunited with the artist responsible, Suzie Zuzek. With its unique heritage - the designs are now part of a collective whole, complete with a compelling narrative. The prints are therefore relevant in speaking to the values held by Millennials and Gen Z's as well as Baby Boomers as consumers in today's global market.
Zuzek's designs have a built-in American heritage, are evergreen, timeless. Zuzek's body of work has been consumed or has had an impact on the lives of millions of consumers (who are just now learning her name) and therefore has high emotional content.
No longer relegated to anonymity, this incredible artist’s fairytale story and the range of designs Zuzek wondrously conceived will undoubtedly bring the next generations as much joy under the Zuzek name in the years to come as they did for their predecessors.
Once Zuzek’s story was discovered, we believed the legacy and oeuvre of this American female artist was too culturally important to not save and therefore we chose to not turn a blind eye. Zuzek is now reunited with her body of art and we are honored to breathe new life into her iconic designs.