Object ID #18504657
This is a Punch bowl. It was designed by Viktor Schreckengost and manufactured by Cowan Pottery Studio. It is dated 1931 and we acquired it in 1980. Its medium is glazed, molded earthenware with sgraffito design. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
Around 1930, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of then-governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, commissioned Cowan Pottery for a ceramic bowl to be used at a party. Cleveland-born designer Viktor Schreckengost, recently hired by Cowan, submitted designs inspired by the modernity, music, and bustle of Manhattan. Schreckengost used a sgraffito technique, scratching the stylized motifs of advertising signs, skyscrapers, cocktail glasses, instruments, and figures onto a top layer to reveal a preliminary layer below, and finished it with a cobalt-blue glaze that reminded him of the “funny blue light in New York.” Mrs. Roosevelt subsequently ordered two more bowls, one of which she planned to present to her husband upon winning the presidential election. Cowan and Schreckengost then applied the New York jazz theme to a range of bowls and plates at varying prices, which had a brief moment of popularity in the 1930s. Cowan shut its doors in 1931, hit by the economic depression, but Schreckengost went on to secure more than a hundred patents during his fifty-year teaching and industrial design careers. When the ceramic series was rediscovered in the 1980s, it was nicknamed Jazz, and this oversized punch bowl quickly became an icon of American Art Deco.
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Its dimensions are
H x Diam: 29.9 x 42.2 cm (11 3/4 x 16 5/8 in.) Diam (foot): 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.)
It has the following markings
Stamped on underside: "Cowan" and manufacturer's trademark.
It is signed
Sgraffito signature on exterior in block Roman: "VIKTOR SCHRECKENGOST."
Cite this object as
Object ID #18504657; Designed by Viktor Schreckengost (American, 1906–2008); USA; glazed, molded earthenware with sgraffito design; H x Diam: 29.9 x 42.2 cm (11 3/4 x 16 5/8 in.) Diam (foot): 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. Homer Kripke; 1980-21-7
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