Pink Saturday-Feb 25, 2012 ~Brastoff
Sascha Brastoff - a mid-century modern DaVinci
by Steve Conti
Back in the 1950s, bigger was always better. Cars became longer, fins higher and hair more bouffant. This was the perfect climate for a larger than life artist, ceramist, dancer, designer, sculptor and talk of the town: Sascha Brastoff. Screen legend and noted art aficionado Edward G. Robinson proclaimed, "Sascha is a modern day Cellini; a contemporary DaVinci." Sascha Brastoff had "arrived" in Hollywood...
Actually, Sascha arrived in Cleveland, Ohio (in 1918) as Samuel Brostofsky. An early aptitude for art lead him to The Clay Club in New York City's Greenwich Village. With fellow alumni Louise Nevelson and Isamu Noguchi, he concentrated on his primary love for highly imaginative and detailed sculpting. Mass production of ashtrays and decorative household items were farthest in his mind. I feel some of the finest work he ever created was during these early years (1938 to 1945.) When not at school, Sascha made a living designing window displays for the famed Macy's Department Store in Herald Square. In 1940, his first (and only) one man show (at the Clay Club's Sculpture Gallery), showcased 37 original hand sculpted terra cotta "Whimsies." A huge success, as all of these sold to prestigious New York collectors. Today, only three have known to survive (Sascha's family retained "Europa and the Bull"; Brastoff biographer Steve Conti has "Mermaid" and "Tumblers.")