DescriptionViktor Schreckengost (American, 1906-2008)
The Seasons (Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring), 1938
18 inches high (45.7 cm)
Incised signature to each: VIKTOR SCHRECKENGOST
H. Adams, Viktor Schreckengost and 20th-Century Design, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, 2000, pp. 54-5, illustrated p. 55;
H. Adams, Viktor Schreckengost: American Da Vinci, Tide-Mark Press LTD., Windsor, Connecticut, 2006, p. 51.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, "20th May Show," May 4 - June 12, 1938 (Special Award for Ceramic Sculpture);
Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse, New York, "7th Ceramic National Exhibition," 1938;
San Francisco, California, "Golden Gate International Exhibition," 1939;
San Diego Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, California, 1940;
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1940;
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon, 1940;
Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, 1940;
John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, 1940;
University of Indiana, 1940;
Houston, Texas, 1941;
San Antonio, Texas, 1941;
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, "Viktor Schreckengost and 20th-Century Design," November 12, 2000-February 4, 2001.
Delaware Art Museum, 2006;
Attleboro Arts Museum, Attleboro, Massachusetts, "Viktor Schreckengost Legacy Exhibition," March 21-May 16, 2008.
Viktor's technical notes record the following: "SUMMER: Modelled directly in red clay. White & Blackbird slip. White & turquoise borax glaze. FALL: Modelled directly in red clay. Blackbird engobe & white slip. White & turquoise borax glaze. SPRING: Modelled in red clay. Green engobe. White & Blackbird slip. White & turquoise borax glaze in spots. WINTER: Modelled directly in red clay. White slip on face. Blackbird clay. White & turquoise glaze."
Viktor modelled each of these majestic heads with their mysterious mask-like faces directly in red clay. He differentiated the individual seasons they represented through applied ornamentation-such as twinkling ice crystals for Winter and prominent leaves and clusters of mature flowers for Summer. In addition, he gave each personification a different skin color through a coat of slip: a sharp white for Winter, gentle green like a new shoot for Spring, ruddy suntan for Summer; and deep bronze for Fall. When sculptor Waylande Gregory, an advisor for the 1939 New York World's Fair saw these magnificent sculptures, he urged Viktor to make a proposal for four similar ceramic heads to be displayed in the United States Building at the fair. Viktor responded with the show-stopping The Four Elements which were installed on ten-foot-high pedestals with beams of light streaming from their eyes.
Each Season has been observed under black light. Summer has a hairline crack to nose bridge and by the incised signature, light firing cracks to the braids and restoration to the end of the leftbraid; professional restoration by Larry Sisson to the hair ornamentation of Fall, missing flake of glaze to one of the ornamental acorns; Readhered leaf to Winter's verso and minor missing chip to one of the stars; Missing tip to one of Spring's budding branches, full restoration of the calla lily to the right side.
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