Unique since 1492
A real piece of Austria
The history of Gmundner Keramik extends far back into the past, as archaeological discoveries in the city of Gmunden, located at the north end of the Traunsee, and its surroundings prove. The production of earthenware such as jugs and bowls, but also tiles and tiled stoves, dates back to the Middle Ages. As early as 1492, Gmundner Keramik was mentioned in documents.
The first products of the Gmundner crockery makers were fairly simple. It was a so called Hafnerware, a collection term for lead-glazed earthenware, a porous body which made the glaze water-tight.
Already in the 17th century, Gmunden was regarded as a high-rise of old Austrian fine and ornamental ceramics. In the course of the 17th and 18th century, the Gmundner Hafner developed independent paintings and forms. A very special feature was the painting of the plates and bowls with short but strong green strokes on the edge. The famous "Dizzy green" was created.
In 1843, the "Hafnerhaus" was acquired by Franz Schleiss and his wife Franziska. His son Leopold Schleiss founded the "Gmundner pottery factory" in 1903 on the present site of the Gmundner Keramikmanufaktur. The 100-year anniversary was held in 2003, among others, with the holding of an international ceramics symposium.
Famous artists such as Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler and Franz Lehàr accompanied the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef and his Sissi in the 19th century to their summer residence in Bad Ischl and influenced and inspired also the ceramic art of this time.
The Schleiss family encouraged the artistic activity of the region. With the "Künstlerische Werkstätte Franz and Emilie Schleiss", 1909 was the beginning, which until today is the special flair of the company - love for art.
Franz Schleiss II merged in 1913 with the Viennese ceramics, which cooperated as a sales community with the Wiener Werkstätten. In the summer months, the "United Viennese and Gmundner Keramik and Gmundner Tonwarenfabrik Schleiss GmbH" attracted gifted pottery artists such as Peche, Powolny, Zülow and Hartmann and made Gmunden an artist colony.
In 1968, Johannes Fürst Hohenberg, a direct descendant of the Austrian imperial family, took over the Gmundner Keramikmanufaktur and made it the No. 1 crockery manufacturer in Austria and beyond. The triumph of the "green flame" began. Together with Professor Gudrun Wittke-Baudisch, he founded the working group for ceramic art "Gruppe H", with the H for Hallstatt (residence of Mrs. Wittke-Baudisch) and Hohenberg.
Martin Eras is the managing CEO of Gmundner Keramik since May 2017 and also became a shareholder of Gmundner Keramik Manufaktur GmbH.
The company has been taken over by the Markus Friesacher Group as of 2018. With 130 employees and a production capacity of 5.000 units a day, Gmundner Keramik is the largest ceramic tableware producer in Europe.