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    "Poor Man's Bowl" (from the Jazz Bowl series), A Glazed Earthenware Bowl, manufactured by Cowan Pottery Studio, circa 1931
    Signed in the body of the bowl: VIKTOR SCHRECKENGOST
    Impressed on the base: COWAN with the firm's mark
    8-1/2 x 13-3/4 inches (21.6 x 34.9 cm)

    Private collection, Cleveland.

    The Cleveland Museum of Art, "Viktor Schreckengost and 20th-Century Design", November 12, 2000-February 4, 2001.

    H. Adams, Viktor Schreckengost and 20th-Century Design, Cleveland, 2000, p. 91(this example).

    "It was the bottom of the Depression and the Cowan Pottery Studio where I worked part time for Guy Cowan, my former teacher, received a number of letters requesting specific types of products from various galleries. I remember picking up one request from a gallery in New York City asking for a large punch bowl with a New York theme. I thought about it awhile and felt that the City of New York reflected the excitement and energy of jazz music. I listened to a lot of it when I had visited the city.. A week after the bowl was shipped, the gallery called to say that the lady who ordered it was so pleased that she wanted to order two more. She said that her husband Franklin loved it, too. One was to be sent to her house in Hyde Park, New York, and the other was to the White House in Washington. The lady was, of course, Eleanor Roosevelt. So I knew, too, that FDR was running seriously for president...." Quoted in M. Favermann, "Viktor Schreckengost: An American Design Giant," The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles, January 2001, pp. 27-29.

    There were eventually three different versions of what became known as the Jazz Bowl. Henry Adams describes the process of creating this version, also known as The Poor Man's Bowl , in Viktor Schreckengost and 20th -Century Design: "He worked from a plaster positive of the punch bowl's shape and carved the "jazz" design in relief, including an element that does not appear in the earlier bowls, his signature, which he ran across the label of a liquor bottle. His carving dug away the background, leaving the central motifs in relief. A plaster mold was then made from this positive, which also had a depressed background with raised foreground designs. The cast bowls were then covered with black engobe, and the dried engobe was scraped off the surface with a steel tool, creating a design that was black in the background areas and white in the foreground. Then came the bisque firing, followed by the application of a crackle glaze."

    The bowls were made in four colors: Egyptian blue (the majority), black, guava yellow, and melon green. This example is one of two known produced in melon green.

    This series of ceramics executed by Schreckengost is undoubtedly a collective icon of the Art Deco movement, and arguably the most important ceramic work of the 20th century.

    More Information:


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2008
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 13,751

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