Viktor Schreckengost

(Sebring, Ohio, 1906 - 2008, Tallahassee, Florida)

North America, American

An internationally-recognized ceramic artist and designer, Victor Schreckengost was first exposed to ceramics through his father, a commercial potter. Schreckengost graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1929 and continued on to study design at the Wiener Werkstatte in Vienna, Austria the following year. Schreckengost returned to Cleveland in 1930 to teach at CIA, where he remained until 2002, a 72-year tenure that included establishing the first industrial design program at an American art school. Schreckengost had just begun working with Cowan Pottery Studio when the company received a commission from Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband had just been elected governor of New York, to design a festive punch bowl. Schreckengost was given the assignment. The art deco bowl, called The New Yorker but also known as The Jazz Bowl, has become Schreckengost’s most iconic work. The following year, Schreckengost won first prize at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s annual May Show for a related work, Cocktails and Cigarettes Punch Bowl.

Schreckengost exhibited widely in the early 1930s, including shows at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Art Institute of Chicago, IL, but by the late 1930s had begun to concentrate on designing functional objects for mass production. Over a long and varied career, Schreckengost designed everything from dinnerware to bicycles and children’s toys while continuing his fine art practice. Schreckengost retired from industrial design in 1976, although he continued to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art until 2002. The Cleveland Museum of Art organized a major retrospective of his work in 2000.

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