3.12.2007

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.

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Top: Primitive on Free Form, Black and White Constellation
Bottom: Aquaria on Free From, Southwind on Free Form, Metropolis on Manhattan, Ultra on Americana.

4 comments:

mc said...

Do you have an image of his dripless teacup? I'm excited and fascinated by th idea and would love to see what it looks like...

christopher said...

Free Form Teacup

This is a photo of the dripless teacup from my personal collection. The pattern on it is titled "Daybreak."

You will notice the tapered feet like on a cauldron. They come to a point that will not allow enough liquid on them to drip off. I have just tested the cup and it would not drip.

Jamie Shehan said...

I found a 24 piece set he designed I believe to be called North Star but I am not sure. It was made during his years at the Salem China Company. I was really excited to find the set in such a large quantity. I can't find a lot about them, either way...I love them.

BookingAlong said...

Is this blog still active? I am trying to find posts from 2011 on, particularly about Schreckengost.