Viktor Schreckengost: The Art of Dining
Dinner, a celebration of food that, whether formal or informal, has shaped social events and family interaction for centuries. With that, dinnerware is not just a tool to serve, but an art that sets mood for a meal. It gives character to a meal.
Viktor Schreckengost, a celebrated Cleveland artist, spent a good deal of his career working in ceramics with innovative achievements in the industry of dinnerware. While attending the Cleveland School of Art, he was offered a position at the Cowan Pottery Studio where he produced one of the most recognizable works of his career. He was commissioned by Eleanor Roosevelt to design punch bowls for a party in New York City. With the city in mind, he felt that the work needed to reflect the energy and excitement of jazz music.
After Cowan Pottery closed in 1932, Viktor was hired by the American Limoges China Company to design new shapes. His work was at first thought to be too modern for their customers, but with modifications, two "Americana," and "Diana" were introduced with great success bringing new life to the company. He later designed shapes entitled "Manhattan," "Snowflake," and "Triumph." All of which he adorned with modern graphic as well as more traditional decorations.
In the mid-1930's, Viktor began producing work for the Salem China Company, taking over as Chief Designer in 1946. He produced many innovative shapes with modern flair. "Constellation," Flair," and "Ranchstyle" were all produced around the same time, and with similar shapes and glazes, they were often used interchangeably.
Perhaps the most sought after shape of his dinnerware career is "Free Form." Completely abstract, the pieces were shaped individually with their use in mind and pulled together through scarce repetitive detail, like the tripod feet, and decoration. The teacup in this set was patented as being dripless. The tripod feet on the piece could not retain enough fluid to allow for dripping when lifted from a damp saucer.
Viktor Schreckengost gave thought to his designs in dinnerware. He helped modernize American tables nation wide and set a new example of ingenuity in the industry. More information and examples of his work can be found on the Viktor Schreckengost Foundation website.