Born 1918 – Died 1993
Los Angeles, California
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Presentation from March 1998 by Dennis Hopp and Nicol Knappen
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. While his work indisputably falls within the mid-century aesthetic standard, it often bypasses the conventions of the era.
The Sascha Brastoff ceramics factory produced a wide range of products including vases, lamps, smoking accessories figurines, dinnerware, and giftware.
The most desirable pieces are those with the full “Sascha Brastoff” signature, because they indicate that Brastoff personally designed and painted those pieces. Those signed “Sascha B” were produced either by decorators under his supervision using his designs, or by Brastoff himself.
Books that reference Sascha Brastoff
The Collectors Encyclopedia of Sascha Brastoff/ Biography / Identification & Values (Collector Books, 1995) by Steve Conti, A. Dewayne Bethany and Bill Seay is a comprehensive review of Brastoff’s work that is affectionate but somewhat rambling and disassociated.
’50s & ’60s Glass, Ceramic, & Enamel Wares: Designed & Signed by Georges Briard, Sascha B., Bellaire, Higgins. . . (Schiffer Publishing, 1996) by Leslie Pina, devotes a chapter to Sascha Brastoff and his pottery.
Award winning Sascha Brastoff pieces are also shown in American Ceramics, the Collection of the Everson Museum of Art (Rizzoli, 1989).
Sascha Brastoff Timeline:
Sascha Brastoff was born Samuel Brostofsky in Cleveland, Ohio, one of eight children
At age 17, Brastoff studies dance with Edward Caton and eventually dances with the Cleveland Ballet for several seasons.
After attending Western Reserve School of Art in Cleveland, Brastoff moves to New York City. He goes to work for Macy’s designing window displays.
Brastoff joins the Clay Club, 4 West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. The following year there is a sell out one man show of his terra cotta Whimsies; pieces were purchased by the Whitney Museum, the Syracuse Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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.”
Brastoff moves to California and signs a seven year contract with 20th Century Fox as a designer and entertainer.
Brastoff opens his first ceramic plant in Los Angeles producing hand painted earthenware.
Six canapé trays entered into a Syracuse Museum competition win Best of Show for Pottery and a $100 award from the Harker Pottery Company.
With backing from Winthrop Rockefeller, Brastoff opens a new, larger factory in Los Angeles. The factory is destroyed by fire after only six months.
A new still larger 35,000 sq. ft. factory and show-room opens that eventually employs more than 100 people.
Brastoff’s company begins to suffer from financial problems after years of success.
A nervous breakdown compels Brastoff to leave his company, though wares continue to be sold under his name.
After several years away from the public eye, Brastoff opens a one-man show of metal sculpture at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles.
Brastoff designs the Espfanade and Roman Bronze lines for the Haeger Potteries.
Brastoff produces a line of jewelry for Marilyn Watson Creations.
The Sascha Brastoff ceramic factory closes after many years of producing his designs.
Brastoff produces a line of jewelry for Merle Norman.
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.
Brastoff’s health begins to decline; his artistic out-put is significantly curtailed.
Brastoff dies after years of battling prostate cancer.