Findings prove that the technique of pottery production in the region around Gmunden was already known in the Stone Age. There are also finds from the Roman period, but Gmunden’s ceramic history became extremely remarkable in the Middle Ages. Having become rich from the salt trade, the first “ceramic scene” was established in the city. Kiln makers produced tiled stoves and utility ceramics and decorated their workpieces with decorative patterns. The first documented mention of a Hafnerhaus in Gmunden dates back to 1492.
At 17th century Gmunden was already considered a stronghold of fine and ornamental ceramics. The decorative technique of flaming developed, which is now part of Austria’s intangible cultural heritage and is still practiced at the Gmundner Keramik Manufaktur. From the 17. and The precious Gmundner faiences, to which the town has its own museum, also originate from the 18th century.
From the 19th century onwards, Gmunden’s ceramic history is closely interwoven with the Schleiss family, who initiated the link between art and craft that is characteristic of Gmunden by collaborating with artists, especially from the Wiener Werkstätte. Also due to the summer stays of the imperial family in the Salzkammergut, there was a lively cultural exchange between Gmunden and Vienna; artistic impulses of the turn of the century found their way to the ceramic town at Lake Traunsee.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the international symposia of Kurt Ohnsorg and the work of the design studio “Gruppe H” made Gmunden a ceramics hotspot and think tank throughout Europe, with a unique symbiotic fusion of art, craft and industrial production.
The 21st century is characterized by global networking. The twinning with the Italian ceramics city of Faenza, the inclusion in the European Route of Ceramics and the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) are important milestones for institutionalized international cooperation. The application as a UNESCO Creative City is the next significant step towards a significant opening and connection process.
4th – 3rd ytsd. v. Chr.
Stone axe find in the clay pits ofWaldbach, pottery of the “Mondseekultur” and other finds at the Traun outflow in Gmunden
2200 – 1500 BC
From the Gmundner cemetery of the Middle Bronze Age comes a decorated drinking bowl with handle, which is the oldest complete preserved ceramic vessel in the city.
750 – 350 BC
Hallstatt period cemetery in Gmunden Au with pottery finds
2nd c. n. Chr.
Roman times and Gmundens oldest pottery
In the Roman Villa Rustica of Engelkopf there was also a pottery workshop
1200 – 1800 AD
Black-haired and white-haired
The production of earthenware, such as jugs, keys, weidlings, but also tiles and tiled stoves, back to the late Middle Ages.
First documentary mention of a “Hafnerhaus beim Stadtgraben”. (Source: City Archives Gmunden in the Upper Austrian State Archives)
from ca. 1600
Marbled and spotted decorations on a white glazed background are the origin of the “Grüngeflammten”, which is the epitome of Gmundner ceramics to this day.
The stonemasons of Gmunden receive their own guild rules – start of independent production and marketing
1670 – 1740: Blue period
1750 – 1775: Blue-Colored Period
1775 – 1875: Green-Colored Period
Franz Schleiss and his wife Franziska purchase the Hafnerhaus in Theatergasse and establish a ceramics workshop.
“Gmundner Tonwarenfabrik” later “Gmundner Keramik Manufaktur”.
Their son Leopold Schleiss founds the Gmundner pottery factory on the present site of the Gmundner Keramik Manufaktur.
“Artistic Workshop Franz and Emilie Schleiss”
The founding of the “Künstlerische Werkstätte Franz und Emilie Schleiss” marks the beginning of a period of collaboration with artists of the Wiener Werkstätte.
“Steingut-Industrie AG” later “LAUFEN Austria AG”
Start of production of sanitary ceramics on the current site of LAUFEN Austria AG.
1933 – 1977
Workshop Karl Födinger
1977 – 2003
Workshop Wolfang Födinger
1971 – 1985
Workshop Georg Pesendorfer
1985 – 2014
Pesendorfer Keramik KG – Bernd Födinger
1963 – 1969
“International Ceramics Symposia” initiated and designed by Prof. Kurt Ohnsorg
“Austrian pottery market
Austrian pottery market with international participation (130 exhibitors + accompanying exhibitions), every year on the last weekend in August – about 40,000 visitors.
Ceramic symposia at Gmundner Keramik (from 2018 also at Laufen).
“K&K-Keramik” Martin Kunze and Maria Kosareva
Member of the European Route of Ceramics
Inclusion in the network of the European Route of Ceramics
UNESCO includes ceramic flaming in the list of intangible cultural heritage in Austria.
AoCG Academy of Ceramics Gmunden
Foundation of the Academy of Ceramics Gmunden AoCG
International Academy of Ceramics IAC
Member of the International Academy of Ceramics IAC
UNESCO Creative Cities
Candidacy for inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network