Schreckengost jazz bowl up 66.6% on estimate

A Viktor Schreckengost-designed jazz bowl saw a dramatic increase of 66.6% on June 17.

Viktor Schrekengost Jazz Bowl
Could this be the last jazz bowl in private hands?

The New York sale featured the Cowan Pottery bowl as top lot, with bidding fuelled by fears that this may be the last to appear on the market for a very long time. As predicted by Paul Fraser Collectibles in our preview, the bowl excelled, selling for an impressive $100,000, against an estimate of $40,000-60,000.

The striking bowl was designed by Viktor Schreckengost in 1931, as a commission for Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt had the bowl made to celebrate her husband's election as governor of New York, with Schreckengost reflecting the city's lively jazz scene in his design.  

Mrs Roosevelt, obviously impressed with Schreckengost's work, would later commission two more bowls from the Cowan factory and started a mini-trend that saw one gallery order a further 50 and Cowan start a dedicated production line.  

It is not certain how many of the bowls were created before the factory closed its doors at the end of 1931, although around 20 extant examples have been recorded. The majority of these are currently housed within museums, with collectors jumping at the chance to own one of the very few available.

In 2002, another original jazz bowl sold at Sotheby's for a record price of $254,400.

Despite his prestigious commission, Schreckengost would not see any real recognition for the design until much later in life. It wasn't until the revival of the Art Deco style in the 1980s that the jazz bowls became popular with collectors, by which time Schreckengost had made his name as a noted industrial designer.

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