Artists & Designers

Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008)

Born June 23, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, industrial designer Viktor Schreckengost influenced many generations of artists and industrial designers, as both a teacher and an independent contractor for commercial goods. Following his departure from Cowan Pottery in 1931, he continued to produce pottery independently, as well as for several firms including Syracuse China, American Limoges, and Salem China. Independently he produced more sculptural-type works such as The Four Elements, selected by Walter Dorwin Teague for the 1939 New York World's Fair. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art, in 1933 Schreckengost was selected to lead the Institute's new design program. During World War II, he worked on a top-secret radar recognition project for the Navy.

As an industrial designer, Schreckengost designed banal things such as bicycles for Sears & Roebuck and everyday china for American Limoges. A native Ohioan, he chose to make his career far from the lights of New York City, although ironically they served as inspiration of his most well-known piece, the "Jazz" bowl [2010.32], a work that remains widely recognized as Schreckengost's masterpiece and a tour de force of twentieth century American art. In 2006, at age 100, Schreckengost was awarded the National Medal of Arts and a gold medal from the American Institute of Architects, the organization's highest honor.

Drawn from

  • Adam Bernstein, "Viktor Schreckengost; Designed Bicycles, Dinnerware and More,"The Washington Post, Feburary 4, 2008.

  • DMA unpublished material.

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