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Ceramic history

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.

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

Bronze Age

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

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


Schleiss workshop

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

“Ohnsorg Symposia”

“International Ceramics Symposia” initiated and designed by Prof. Kurt Ohnsorg

since 1988

“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.

since 2003

Ceramic symposia at Gmundner Keramik (from 2018 also at Laufen).

since 2011

“K&K-Keramik” Martin Kunze and Maria Kosareva

from 2019

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