Walter Sinz, sculptor of the West Side Market’s tempting food reliefs

4 Oct

No turtles currently sold at the West Side Market--mock it up

Yesterday’s post on Cleveland’s West Side Market got me wondering about the sculptor, and I contacted @ohiocitytweets to find out if they knew. Their quick research led them to To Market To Market by Joanne Lewis, who stated they were the work of Cleveland sculptor Walter Sinz (many thanks, @OhioCityTweets; you also noted the interior ceramic corbels were by Herman Latzen, who created Public Square’s Mayor Johnson monument). I did some quick research of my own on Sinz, whose father had been a lithography instructor. Sinz went to what became the Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as Paris’s Academie Julien. He was a regular exhibitor at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s May Shows–112 entries–and created numerous sculptural commissions, including medals and portraiture, usually in clay, plaster or bronze. He also worked at Cowan Pottery.

Cowan was first based in Lakewood, then Rocky River, but the Depression sent it belly-up. Their temporal positioning meant they were involved in the Arts & Crafts movement, Art Deco and eclecticism–and there’s a book about it! Cowan pottery lives on in a “museum” at the Rocky River Public Library, which consists of over 1100 pieces displayed in circulating exhibits. They provide a ceramics scholarship at CIA, and this coming May 5 they’re holding a symposium, presumably for collectors and historians.

The Thompson trophy, now at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum

Sinz (1881-1966) taught at the now-CIA from 1911-52, frequently working in bronze. He designed the Art Deco Thompson Trophy, which was the award for one of many air races popular in the 30’s, and known to airplane buffs (funny enough, my brother recently told me about these famous plane races, far more dangerous than today’s air shows–they flew around pylons on a course). The trophy came about because the air race’s organizers felt most trophies at the time were mere loving cups, unconnected to the competition at hand. They called upon national sculptors to submit maquettes, and the five were submitted to five judges for their choice–one of the judges was Orville Wright. Unanimously, they picked Sinz’s design, which featured Icarus–whose flight efforts, marked by hubris, ended in disaster.

Sinz medal for Cleveland's Rowfant Club, a bibliophile's retreat on Prospect

Sinz’s other Cleveland public art includes a 1949 plaque honoring poet Emma Lazarus at the Hebrew Garden of the the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, as well as a sculpture of St. Luke at St. Luke’s Medical Center and his 1926 Portage Path Marker,  in Akron, a bronze relief of a Native American carrying a canoe through the portage.

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