By Janet Dodrill
In the early 1930s, an Art Deco style masterpiece was created in earthenware with black and vibrant blue glazes and a jazzy New York theme, tilting skyscrapers, stars and other symbols — the “Jazz” bowl. It was designed by ceramicist Viktor Schreckengost.
A web site is dedicated solely for Viktor’s bowls. It states in Viktor’s words that a design was requested, submitted and selected for a punch bowl with a New York theme while he was working at the Cowan Pottery Co. in Rocky River, Ohio, The client turned out to be Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the bowl turned out to be the first of a series (and first of three that she ordered) that he designed. It is estimated there are between 20 and 50 of these bowls, though the exact number is unknown.
Last weekend parade participants created a huge float version of a “Jazz” bowl and displayed it at the popular ‘Parade the Circle’ event in Cleveland.
Rago Arts auction has one of the bowls with a Schreckengost signature and Cowan stamp in their June 16, 2012 auction, estimate: $40,000-$60,000. According to Kovels.com, a similar “Jazz” bowl sold at Rago in 2010 for $158,600, and the bowls have sold at other auctions across the country. The are in both public and private collections.
I was fortunate enough to see a “Jazz” bowl in person at The Cleveland Museum of Art’s exhibit “Viktor Schreckengost and Twentieth Century Design” a few years ago.
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