Viktor Schreckengost: America's DaVinci

Reeds and Horn, watercolor. via Aspire Auctions

Award-winning American industrial designer, sculptor and artist, Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008) has been called America's DaVinci due to his far-reaching and prolific career. Viktor's creativity was encouraged at a young age by his father who would bring home material from the ceramics factory where he worked, asking Viktor and his siblings to compete in weekly sculpture contests. He graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts (Cleveland Institute of Art) in 1929 and went on to teach industrial design at the school for over 50 years. Some of his most notable students became top designers at Ford Motors and Fisher-Price.

 Housing Development, c. 1954, watercolor. via Heritage Auctions

Still Life of Bottles, watercolor. via Heritage Auctions 

Cityscape. via Cityzenart

Moroccan Lute, 1934. via Cleveland Arts Foundation 

 Pottery and Light, 1947. via Aspire Auctions

In 1955-56 Shreckengost sculpted two massive ceramic relief murals, Mastadon and Mammoth for the exterior walls of the Cleveland Zoo's Pachyderm Building. The pieces were removed in 2008 to be reinstalled near the zoo's entrance. The sculptures were created from 32 tons of terra cotta and measure 25' long, with one measuring 12' tall and the other 13.5' tall.
Viktor working on the Mastadon in 1956. Image via Cleveland Memory

The Mastadon before its removal in 2008. Image via 

 Schreckengost carving the Mammoth mural in 1956. Image: Cleveland Press

 Mammoth on exterior of the Pachyderm Building before removal. via

Schreckengost created this award winning terra cotta relief mural inspired by Johnny Appleseed, titled Early Settler for Lakewood High School's Civic Auditorium in 1954.
 Early Settler relief mural. Via Cityzenart

 Image via

Viktor designed so many objects in his career that virtually everyone has come into contact with one of his items during their lifetime; my most favorable being the pedal-cars and bicycles he designed for Murray-Ohio.

Viktor carving clay model of a pedal car for Murray-Ohio, 1948. via Cleveland Memory

Pursuit pedal car for Murray, c. 1940's. via Heritage Auctions

JC Higgins bicycle. via American Craft Council

Viktor on JC Higgins Colorflow model, 1950. via

I loved the Eliminators series that Schreckengost designed for Murray. For more images click here

Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008). Photo: Martin Linsey

For more on Viktor Schreckengost click herehere, here and here.


Ray G said...

Superb Kevin, I didnt know (or I had forgotton) he made some superb ceramic pieces as well.

Mid-Centuria said...

Thanks Ray! Yeah his Jazz Series ceramics were great.

SteveMinne said...

Seriously awesome collection of pics. Love the bird houses!
If you're not already a member, please come join the Viktor Schreckengost Facebook group:

Mid-Centuria said...

Thanks Steve, glad you liked the post!

Ralph Schreckengost said...

A truley talented man.

vouterb2 said...

I study with Schreckengost at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the 70's and loved seeing your post.

Anonymous said...

Do you have much information about his wonderful free form pieces? I have several patterns which include plates, creamers, etc. I love the shape.

Mid-Centuria said...

No, sorry I am not familiar with his ceramic pieces.