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Walter Bosse

Austrian, 1904-1979

Credited with thousands of works and models for ceramic pieces, Walter Bosse was an intensely prolific designer. The modernist Austrian sculptor and ceramist was best known for his distinctive “Black Golden” series of decorative objects and figurines, particularly his hedgehog ashtrays. Bosse’s mid-century and Art Deco works were popular as gifts for politicians and royalty worldwide, remaining coveted among collectors today.

Bosse was born in Vienna in 1904 to artist parents — his father, Julius, was a portrait painter for the Austrian Imperial Court. Bosse studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna from 1918 to 1921 under Austrian sculptor Michael Powolny and Austrian painter Franz Cizek. Later, he continued at the Munich School of Applied Arts in Germany under Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffmann, a founder of the Vienna Secession movement.

Early in his career, Bosse worked as a designer at several ceramics manufacturers, including Augarten Porcelain Works in 1924, Goldscheider Porcelain Manufactory and Majolica Factory in 1926 and Metzler and Ortloff in 1927. In 1925, Bosse displayed several pieces at the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris, which introduced the Art Deco style to a global audience.

In 1931, Bosse opened a shop in Kufstein, Austria, selling ceramic gift items. Owing to the crippling economic effects of the Great Depression, however, Bosse was forced to close his shop in 1937. He returned to Vienna in 1938 and opened another business, Bosse Keramik, where he sold toys, glass, textiles and more. In the late 1940s, Bosse experimented with small-scale brass sculptures and desk accessories coated in black ceramic glaze. With Austrian designer Herta Baller, Bosse formed the Bosse-Baller company to manufacture the “Black Golden” line of figurines, which became wildly popular worldwide.

Despite Bosse’s success, he struggled financially and moved to Iserlohn, Germany, in 1953. Meanwhile, Baller continued to manufacture and sell Bosse’s designs, which were so popular that forgers copied and sold counterfeit editions of Bosse’s works around the world. The 1950s marked the debut of the artist’s whimsically zoomorphic hedgehog ashtrays — these were cast in brass, and a hedgehog ashtray in any other material is not a Bosse original.

Bosse spent the rest of his life embroiled in court battles to protect his designs, leaving him penniless by the time he died. Today authentic Bosse pieces — from wall-mounted sculptures to tableware — continue to be highly sought after by collectors.

Find vintage Walter Bosse serveware, wall decorations and more on 1stDibs.

Monkey Hook Wardrobe Hooks by Walter Bosse
By Walter Bosse, Herta Baller
Located in Vienna, AT
Brass hook "monkey" by Walter Bosse for Hertha Baller, Vienna from the 1950s. Used but in very good vintage condition.  
Category

1950s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Bosse

Materials

Brass

Monkey Hook Wardrobe Hooks by Walter Bosse
Monkey Hook Wardrobe Hooks by Walter Bosse
H 7.49 in W 1.58 in D 0.79 in
Four Asymmetric Modernist Brass Wall Hooks by Hertha Baller, Austria, 1950s
By Herta Baller, Walter Bosse
Located in Wien, AT
Four asymmetrical modernist brass wall hooks by Hertha Baller, Austria, 1950s original state Price and sale per piece.
Category

1950s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Bosse

Materials

Brass

Umbrella Stand Fish, Brass Blackened Metal, Walter Bosse, Austria, 1950s
By Herta Baller, Walter Bosse
Located in Hausmannstätten, AT
A beautiful umbrella stand by Walter Bosse, Vienna, manufactured in midcentury in circa 1950. It is made of a black painted metal base and a polish...
Category

1950s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Bosse

Materials

Metal, Brass

Walter Bosse Brass Rooster Mid-Century Umbrella Stand for Herta Baller, 1950s
By Herta Baller, Walter Bosse
Located in Vienna, AT
This striking umbrella stand, which can also serve as a paper basket or wastepaper bin, dates back to the 1950s. Designed by Walter Bosse and crafted by Hertha Baller in Vienna, Aust...
Category

Mid-20th Century Austrian Mid-Century Modern Walter Bosse

Materials

Metal, Brass, Iron

Vintage Ceramic Pottery Vase by Walter Bosse - Rare
By Walter Bosse
Located in San Diego, CA
Whimsical vintage ceramic pottery vase by Walter Bosse, circa 1930's. This rare pot was hand crafted by Bosse in Austria and measures 4.5"W x 4"D x 4.25"H. The piece is in good vin...
Category

Mid-20th Century Austrian Walter Bosse

Materials

Pottery

DONKEY Walter Bosse figurines brass patinated new Vienna Austria
By Walter Bosse
Located in Vienna, AT
In 2000 a Viennese public house released the first monograph about Walter Bosse. Illustrated with various pictures it shows his highly creative potential and his influence and impact...
Category

2010s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Walter Bosse

Materials

Brass

Walter Bosse figurine BULL brass patinated new Vienna Austria
By Walter Bosse
Located in Vienna, AT
Figurine: Bull Taurus. New production made in Austria. The figurine is special in its own way and requires 14 work steps. It is a "lost wax casting" piece. Model number 6094 In 200...
Category

2010s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Walter Bosse

Materials

Brass

Walter Bosse figurine BULL brass patinated new Vienna Austria
Walter Bosse figurine BULL brass patinated new Vienna Austria
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H 1.11 in W 2.29 in D 0.6 in
Walter Bosse figurine BOAR brass patinated new Vienna Austria
By Walter Bosse
Located in Vienna, AT
Boar. New production made in Austria. The figurine is special in its own way and requires 14 work steps. It is a "lost wax casting" piece. Model number BO21 In 2000 a Viennese publi...
Category

2010s Austrian Mid-Century Modern Walter Bosse

Materials

Brass

Walter Bosse figurine BOAR brass patinated new Vienna Austria
Walter Bosse figurine BOAR brass patinated new Vienna Austria
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H 0.99 in W 1.78 in D 0.56 in
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Walter Bosse furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Walter Bosse furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Walter Bosse furniture, although black editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Walter Bosse were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Herta Baller, Franz Hagenauer, and Karl Hagenauer. Prices for Walter Bosse furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $111 and can go as high as $3,400, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $360.

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