Dear Lee,

Our friend Viktor Schreckengost just celebrated his 100th birthday. We were invited to see the artists, led by Heather McClellan, hard at work making Centennial Series reproductions of his famous Jazz Bowl. The large turquoise and black punch bowl originally made for Eleanor Roosevelt in 1931 has become an icon of American Art Deco. The studio blew us away. Twenty or so huge black and turquoise bowls were on the shelves. The size of the bowls, their brilliant color, and the variations in design were never obvious when we saw just one bowl in a museum.

Viktor made sure the new bowls were made following his methods and designs for the originals. The project directors also did massive research into his notes and other sources. This resulted in unexpected discoveries. The original bowls-31 are in known collections-were decorated with the word Jazz, buildings, zigzags, lampposts, drums, cocktail glasses, and other symbols Viktor called “New Yorkish.” Bowls were also glazed green and, possibly, yellow. There were variations in the number and position of the elements in the bowls’ exterior design, which could be because Viktor decorated each one by hand, scratching the design into the clay. There were also four different interior designs: Comet and Stars with Waves, Bubbles, Zigzag with Stars, and Zigzag with Music. There were two bowl shapes, a parabolic bowl and a later flared-rim version. Bowls also came in two sizes.

The most exciting research discovery was a 1933 magazine photograph proving that two more bowl designs existed whose whereabouts are unknown today. One, called “Rhythm and Blues,” is decorated with a guitar and other musical instruments. The other is the “Nightclub” bowl decorated with dancers who also appear on his “Danse Moderne” plate. An original parabolic Jazz Bowl auctioned in 2004 for $254,000. The new bowls, in a limited edition of 100, are selling for $15,000 (parabolic) and $17,000 (flared) each. They’re available from Viktor Schreckengost Studios, 866-324-9444 or