(American, Ohio, Rocky River, 1912-1931)
Glazed ceramic with sgraffito design
Overall: 28.6 x 41.3 cm (11 1/4 x 16 1/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2000.65
The blue-black color scheme of this bowl references ancient Egyptian ceramic glazes in the same palette made popular after King Tut's tomb was discovered in 1922.
The first Jazz Bowl (location unknown) was commissioned around 1930 by Eleanor Roosevelt when her husband was governor of New York. She allegedly requested a design that reflected the exciting nightlife of New York City. A young Viktor Schreckengost had just begun his career at the Cowan Pottery Studio in Rocky River, Ohio, when he was given the task of expressing the jazzy pulse of the times in clay. Cowan liked the design so much that a small edition of similar bowls was put in production. The bowl's design was created by scratching through a thin covering of black clay (called slip) to reveal the white ceramic underneath. After the bowl was fired once, it was covered with a rich glaze of Egyptian blue and fired again for the final time.
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