The Work of Artist, Teacher, & Industrial Designer Viktor Schreckengost Now on Display
—by Beth Piwkowski, Special Collections/ User Services Associate, Michael Schwartz Library
Viktor Schreckengost: Art and Design From the Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections will be on exhibit until January 31st on the first floor of the Library. The exhibit includes displays of his artwork and materials relating to his contributions to the fields of ceramics, painting, and industrial design, including a set of dishware he designed for Salem China, and sketches of his sculptures for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
Schreckengost was born in Sebring, Ohio in 1906, studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and in Vienna, where he became known for his work in ceramics and playing jazz saxophone. He returned to Cleveland and began to teach at the Cleveland Institute of Art at the age of 25, focusing on industrial design, and winning many awards for his work in ceramics, watercolors, industrial design, and pottery. He repaid his student loans working for Gem Clay, creating his "Jazz Series" of dishes and bowls for Cowan Pottery, designed bicycles and children's toys for Murray Ohio and Sears, and mass-produced dinnerware for American Limoges and Salem China. He also did work for General Electric, Harris Printing, and others, creating over 1500 works of art in his lifetime. He strongly believed in making good design affordable to everyone, not just the affluent, and this was reflected in his work.
He retired from industrial design in 1972, but continued teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art for many years, and died in 2008 at the age of 101. In 2010, the family donated his materials to Special Collections. This comprehensive collection included materials from the Viktor Schreckengost Foundation, photographs and slides of the artist's work, visual reference files, personal photographs, papers and business correspondence, sketches, blueprints, tools, and other ephemera.
The Viktor Schreckengost Collection, which includes the artist/designer's correspondence, sketches, blueprints, and contracts with prominent firms in the Cleveland area, can be found in Special Collections at the Michael Schwartz Library.