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The New Yorker (Jazz) Punch Bowl, 1931

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.

This object was donated by Mrs. Homer Kripke and catalogued by David McFadden. It is credited Gift of Mrs. Homer Kripke.

Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

This object has not been digitized yet.
  • Textile, Manhattan, 1930
  • linen.
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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

The New Yorker (Jazz) Punch Bowl, 1931; 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

We have 1 media file that features The New Yorker (Jazz) Punch Bowl, 1931.

"The Mooche," Duke Ellington (1928)

The New Yorker (Jazz) Punch bowl is an extraordinary piece, and it deserved to be paired with an equally evocative composition from the music of the Jazz Age. “The Mooche” was the Duke...

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s and Making Design.

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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://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18504657/ |title=The New Yorker (Jazz) Punch Bowl, 1931 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 July 2018 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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