Viktor Schreckengost for Cowan Pottery Studio, Jazz Bowl, designed 1930

A glazed, black porcelain bowl decorated with brilliant blue incised motifs of New York City attractions

Glazed porcelain with sgraffito decoration. The John Axelrod Collection. Reproduced with permission.

The decorations that adorn Viktor Schreckengost’s Jazz Bowl capture the excitement of New York City nightlife in 1930, which was often viewed as scandalous due to its opposition to Prohibition and sexualized dancing in clubs. Schreckengost made the bowl for Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband, future president Franklin D. Roosevelt, was campaigning against the alcohol restrictions of Prohibition. Schreckengost’s bowl allowed white patrons like the Roosevelts to bring exhilarating jazz culture into their genteel homes.