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Issue Date: March 2008 Issue

In Memory

Ian Hoffman
I’d never spoken the name Viktor Schreckengost until seven years ago. That all changed when I visited his career retrospective at the Cleveland Museum of Art in late 2000. From that moment, I could not stop talking about him. I was awed by his ceramic art, which was often so simple and yet extraordinarily expressive. Schreckengost’s “Jazz” bowl was no less than the perfect Art Deco object. The more I learned about the man, the more amazing he became. He was a gifted artist, but he also helped win the Battle of the Bulge by improving the Allies’ radar capabilities, and designed the cab-over-engine bus that is ubiquitous around the world. Did I mention he was a friend of Eliot Ness? What a life. I last talked to Schreckengost over drinks at Nighttown when I interviewed him on the occasion of his 100th birthday. At that meeting I handed him a ceramic mug I’d made and decorated in his “Jazz” bowl style. If he was under whelmed with my feeble imitation, he didn’t let on. I can’t stop talking about that meeting either.

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