Cleveland Treasures

Rose Iron Work, Muse with Violin, circa 1930

There are many treasures to be proud of in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. Yes, we made it into the NBA playoffs last year, we are the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the National Republican Convention is headed our way. But dig deeper and you will find many treasures with national recognition. From pottery to metal, Cleveland has a legacy of well-known artists.

In my 20-plus years in the antique and decorative arts industry, I have fallen in love with some of these Cleveland treasures. I would like to bring them to life for you and provide the impetus for you to get to know them too.

Claude Conover

Claude Conover may not be well known to many in Cleveland, but his work is in more than 20 museums around the country. His archaic stoneware vessels - hits in the 1960s - are iconic and still celebrated today. These slab-constructed vessels with textural surfaces and subtle color are repetitive in nature but never boring. The clean lines are perfection and timeless. Conover also created zoomorphic sculptures, bowls and lamps with the same feel.

On the bottom of these pieces, you will find the signature “Claude Conover” in an iron oxide glaze. You may remember the windows at Potter & Mellon lined with Conover vessels. What a sight that must have been! Today, Christie’s fetches over $9,000 for his more unusual forms. On average, his pieces go for $3,500. Conover’s fabulous work is nationally recognized and celebrated.

Rose Iron Works

Before aluminum railings from Home Depot and plastic lanterns from the Internet, there was Rose Iron Works, a metal studio with European roots and 19th century quality. On the near East Side, Rose has it hands in creating gates, railings, lighting and more. Its artistry has graced fine homes and public spaces in Northeast Ohio for 100 years.

“The Hangar” in Beachwood, now a private club, is adorned with railings with seahorses by Rose. Rose outfitted Halle’s with doors and screens. Rose also adorned many Euclid Avenue mansions, including gates and andirons. It is hard to see this splendid work first hand, but The Cleveland Museum of Art has pieces in its permanent collection. Old pieces rarely come on the open market; however, Rose still produces work today that celebrates its century of superior craftsmanship.

Edris Eckhardt

Edris Eckhardt came onto the Cleveland art scene in the 1920s with a bang. She studied at Cleveland Institute of Art and excelled to such a degree that she was asked to teach there after graduation. This was a wonderful time for the Cleveland Art scene and she was part of it. Edris produced ceramic, bronze and glass sculptures.

Her playful glazed ceramic figures and stylized glass pieces are a treat to see. She garnered much attention when she re-discovered fused glass encasing gold leaf as the Egyptian did almost 2,000 thousand years before. This not only brought her accolades from peers and collectors, but it also served to garner her with two fellowships.

Many museums prize her work in their permanent collections. Acquiring her work through auction or galleries is possible, with some pieces selling for around $100 and fine examples for much more.

Cleveland has been in the forefront in the arts for decades, so celebrate and be inspired. Explore the Cleveland Museum of Art where examples of the work of these three artists are housed along with that of other nationally recognized Cleveland artists. You will see how artistic and creative this region is.

For more information on these artists, visit

Mitchell Sotka

Mitchell Sotka

The Eponymous Antique Shop Owner

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 10:10 AM, 10.07.2015