The Werkstätte Carl Auböck—dating back to four generations of Auböcks—was originally founded as a metal workshop in 1912 by Karl Henirch Auböck (1872-1925). It was well known for producing ‘Vienna Bronzes’—miniature bronze figurines and statuettes that were very popular in the early 20th century, as well as for its signature modernist accessories in the mid-century period.
Carl Auböck II (1900-1957) was an Austrian designer who apprenticed in bronze smithing and engraving at his father’s workshop in the early 1900s. He then moved on to fine art, studying painting under the Swiss expressionist painter-designer Johannes Itten at the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany (graduating in 1921).
His son Carl III, on the other hand, was fascinated by industrial design. In the 1950s, he studied architecture in the US where he met and befriended modernist design luminaries such as Charles and Ray Eames, Benjamin Thompson, George Nelson, Herbert Bayer, and Walter Gropius. Returning to Vienna, Carl III filled his father in on the movement that was revolutionizing the design industry. The pair worked well together, creating an array of slightly unconventional yet highly functional art objects, including paperweights, ashtrays, corkscrews, bottle stoppers, floor lamps, coat racks, and shoe horns.