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Steve Conti Collection of Sascha Brastoff Photographs
Coll2006-008  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
15 photographs of artist and designer Sascha Brastoff, primarily in drag, from circa 1940 to circa 1965.
Background
Sascha Brastoff, potter, metal sculptor, and jewelry designer, was born Samuel Brostofsky in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 23, 1918. He attended Glenville High School in Cleveland, and took drama classes under the future Hollywood producer Ross Hunter. At age 17, he began studying dance with Edward Caton, and later danced for several seasons with the Cleveland Ballet. Impressed with his artistic abilities, his art teachers formed a small private scholarship to enable him to attend the Western Reserve University School of Art in Cleveland. In 1940, Brastoff moved to New York where he designed window displays for Macy's and joined the Clay Club, where in 1941 he held a one-man show of his terra cotta "whimsies". In 1942, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force, where he designed costumes and scenery for Special Services events to entertain the troops; he also appeared on stage, and became well known for his comic interpretation of Carmen Miranda. In 1944, Brastoff moved to California, where he signed a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox as a designer and entertainer. In 1947, he opened his first ceramic plant in Los Angeles, selling hand-painted earthenware. In 1952, with backing from Winthrop Rockefeller, Brastoff opened a new factory in Los Angeles. It was destroyed by fire six months later, and in 1953, Brastoff opened a new 35,000-square foot factory and showroom that eventually employed more than 100 people. In 1960, the business began to decline, and in 1962 Brastoff suffered a nervous collapse and left the company, which continued to sell wares under his name until it finally closed in 1973. After several years away from business, Brastoff returned in 1966 with a one-man show of metal sculpture at the Dalzell Hatfield Galleries in Los Angeles. He thereafter designed and produced lines for ceramic, jewelry, and decorative arts companies. As his health declined after 1985, he increasingly curtailed his artistic activities. He died after a long battle with prostate cancer on February 4, 1993.Steve Conti is the co-author, together with A DeWayne Bethany and Bill Seay, of Collector's Encyclopedia of Sascha Brastoff (Paducah, KY: Collector Books, c1995).
Extent
15 photographs.
Restrictions
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).
Availability
The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.