This is an extremely rarely seen pattern nowadays. The colors are a subtle chamois taupe with some mauve on a gray/beige speckled background. Elegant gold and black lines outline and highlight the design – a truly beautiful piece. One sees many ashtrays and different shapes and boxes in less desired patterns, but this is truly outstanding. I have searched and searched but have not found another on the secondary market. I found two small pieces (ashtrays) in similar style and coloring - one a "genie" and the other a single figure.
"While his work indisputably falls within the mid-century aesthetic standard, it often bypasses the conventions of the era.
A founding pioneer of Mid-Century Modernism, Sascha Brastoff’s art is an innovative and eclectic variety of pure genius. Any appreciator of fine art must own at least one piece by this globally recognized and accomplished artist. Sascha Brastoff's pieces of American Mid-CenturyModernist art will add elan and flair to any home. Sascha Brastoff had a full and eventful life that is reflected in his ceramic artistry. The decorative motifs found in his work range from the whimsical to the erotic." -
***Excerpted from a Presentation from March 1998 by Dennis Hopp and Nicol Knappen in the Wisconsin Pottery Association publication.
Interesting to note that so many of his pieces from this particular period (1953 - 1962) have sold for hundreds of dollars. A sculpture that he created sold by Bonham's in 2015 for $12,500.00. This is a very recognized and treasured artist. A biography follows the listing.
Country of Origin: U. S. A.
Artist: SASCHA BRASTOFF (American 1919-1993) - (Born Samuel Brostofsky in Cleveland, Ohio)
Medium: Finely painted ceramic.
Signed: Artist signed by female's foot - lower right.
Mark: On bottom, This mark only produced from 1953 - 1962.
Size: 17 3/4 inches long; 9 inches wide; 3 inches tall.
Condition: Very Good Vintage Condition.
Circa: 1953 - 1962.
Sascha Brastoff was trained as a ballet dancer and was an actor, metal sculptor, and jeweler but he is best known as a ceramist.
He was known for designing and producing a wide range of porcelain functional and sculptural ceramic forms.
During WW2 and immediately after, foreign imports into the USA had been cut off, resulting in the flourishing of domestic art pottery firms. This was further supported by the postwar building boom, especially in states like California. The demand for decorative and functional pottery wares was high, especially from the new homes being furnished. The shared sacrifices of the war were gone and the ceramic products reflected the new optimism with free flowing styles, fun, kitsch and heart warming designs. A lot of the decorative figurines expressed motion, from walking to dancing and other movements, capturing the mood shift.. TV’s were also selling in huge numbers so sales of ceramic TV lamps also flourished.In 1947 Winthrop P. Rockefeller backed Brastoff in his first California atelier focused on the design and production of high-quality porcelain dinnerware and decorative ceramics. Brastoff had 3 business locations in the Los Angeles area. The first was in a small Quonset hut in West Los Angeles and the last was a state-of-the-art studio/factory which opened in 1953. From 1947 to 1962 Brastoff developed an atelier of artists to produce his designs of intricately hand decorated tableware and home decor items. Sgraffito and gold lusters were among the numerous decorative techniques used. Multiple firings were often needed to produce each item. In 1962 Brastoff returned to the life of a solo studio artist concentrating on enamelwork, oil painting, and drawing. After Brastoff’s return to his solo-studio practice in 1962, the factory was moved to Hawthorne, California where it was active from 1963-1973. By 1984, poor health caused Brastoff to cease working.
1918 Sascha Brastoff was born Samuel Brostofsky in Cleveland, Ohio, one of eight children
1935 At age 17, Brastoff studies dance and eventually dances with the Cleveland Ballet.
1940 Attends Western Reserve School of Art in Cleveland. Brastoff goes to work for Macy's designing window displays in NYC.
1942 Brastoff enters the Army Air Force. Initially designing posters, he joins the ATC road show. He becomes well known for his comic interpretation of Carmen Miranda, called by theater legend Moss Hart as the "greatest sight laugh of this century."
1944 Brastoff moves to California and signs a seven year contract with 20th Century Fox as a designer and entertainer.
1947 Brastoff opens his first ceramic plant in Los Angeles producing hand painted earthenware.
1948 Six canapé trays entered into a Syracuse Museum competition win Best of Show for Pottery and a $100 award from the Harker Pottery Company.
1952 With backing from Winthrop Rockefeller, Brastoff opens a new, larger factory in Los Angeles. The factory is destroyed by fire after only six months.
1953 A larger 35,000 sq. ft. factory and show-room opens and employs more than 100 people.
1960 Brastoff's company begins to suffer from financial losses after years of success.
1962 Brastoff has a nervous breakdow, his company continues to sell items under his name.
1966 After several years away from the public eye, Brastoff has a one-man show of metal sculpture at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles.
1971 Brastoff designs the Espfanade and Roman Bronze lines for the Haeger Potteries
1972 He produces a line of jewelry for Marilyn Watson Creations.
1973 The Sascha Brastoff ceramic factory closes after many years of producing his designs.
1975 Brastoff produces a line of jewelry for Merle Norman.
1975-1985 Brastoff designs and produces a myriad of lines for other ceramic, jewelry and decorative arts companies. He experiments with a wide variety of new materials and techniques, including holograms.
1985 Brastoff's health begins to decline; his artistic out-put is significantly curtailed.
1993 Brastoff dies after years of battling prostate cancer.
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Thanks so much to my references:
Ceramics and Pottery Arts and Resources
Wisconsin Pottery Association
TMP - The Marks Project
Ceramics and Pottery Arts and Resources
A book [I am told is still available] has created real excitement in the field of Sascha collecting. Sascha Brastoff by Conti, De Wayne Bethany & Seay, includes history, extensive illustrations, and a price guide. -
All our items are available on layaway with NO Interest Charges!
SASCHA BRASTOFF (American 1919-1993) - Signed And Marked RARE Pattern Large Tray or Plate