"Animal Kingdom" coffee cup

Designed by Viktor Schreckengost American
Manufacturer American Limoges China Company

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Viktor Schreckengost was a most prolific and influential industrial designer, who enjoyed a long career during the 20th century. He was literally born into the ceramics industry, in Sebring, Ohio, where his father worked at a ceramics factory. Schreckengost studied at the highly influential Cleveland School (now the Cleveland Institute of Art), graduating in 1929, and launching into a successful career, both designing and teaching. By the mid-1930s Schreckengost had already established his fame as a ceramic sculptor. He also worked as a designer in the tableware industry, and by that time had begun designing it in a modernist mode, providing designs for both the forms and the decoration. One of his most successful, was his “Manhattan” shape, with its rounded, ample, simple, and spare forms, with unornamented rims. Its very name, “Manhattan,” implies modern, urban life. The shape was conceived as a vehicle for transfer-printed decoration, allowing for new designs to be issued annually. In about 1935 the American Limoges China Company (later Sebring Pottery), where he serve as artistic director, introduced his Animal Kingdom line on “Manhattan” forms. It features various simplified animal motifs—humorous stylized designs of elephants, donkeys, pigs, squirrels, and fish, each accompanied by a carefully placed star. The designs were not hand-decorated, but rather were applied with decals. In many ways the chubby and cheerful silhouettes in vibrant colors are almost childishly naïve.

"Animal Kingdom" coffee cup, Designed by Viktor Schreckengost (American, Sebring, Ohio 1906–2008 Cleveland, Ohio), Earthenware, American

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