We are pleased to offer a beautiful Cowan Pottery polychrome mosaic designed by Elsa Vick Shaw. The glazed ceramic tile mural titled “Egyptian Maidens” was saved from demolition by our specialist Bridget McWilliams and a small conservation team known as the “Woodsmen” from Vermillion OH. The home of Elsa Vick Shaw in Moreland Hills was scheduled to be demolished and Bridget received a call to rescue the mural. One of five known to exist, the glazed ceramic tile mural was submitted by Cowan Pottery to the 1930 Cleveland Museum of Art May Show where it was accepted and displayed amongst
other favorable works of art as seen in this vintage photograph of the exhibition. From the museum intake sheet we can see that Cowan Pottery stated only 5 murals were created. It is the only piece created by Elsa for the Cowan Pottery Studio. She was a mural painter; the most well known example of her work is the series of ancient instrument mural paintings in the Grand Foyer of Severance Hall, the home of The Cleveland Orchestra. The Cowan Museum, located inside the Rocky River Ohio Library, has one of these mosaic murals prominently displayed at the entrance to the museum.
Another item from Elsa’s home is a beautiful clear glass sand blasted panel, made for the mural titled “Oceania”. She won a national competition to design this mural for the passenger ship S.S.President Polk, of the President Lines. The metal framed panel was one of 21 etched plate glass panels. There is another panel on display at Rose Iron Works, who sand blasted the design for the artist.
While you’re here in the Gallery previewing the May auction collection, please take notice of our cherished display cases, designed by Horace Potter for Potter and Mellen. We haven’t been able to pinpoint a date of creation, but these cases were built in the store on Carnegie, so we believe ca. 1929-1933. Several were made and we are lucky to have three.
At Neue we recognize the importance of cherishing the history of Cleveland artisians past and present and passing title of ownership of their works to the next generation of collectors. We encourage the discussion of stewardship in collecting and welcome everyone to get involved.