The first auction entirely dedicated to the iconic Werkstätte Carl Auböck

curated by Patrick Parrish

I am pleased to present with Wright the first curated, stand-alone auction featuring the work of the Austrian national treasure, Carl Auböck II. With the help of my colleague Clemens Kois, author of the definitive book on the Auböck Werkstätte, I have selected over three hundred works that have been acquired over the years from notable collectors in the United States and Europe, as well as select works from Mr. Kois’s personal collection. Additionally, works were also obtained directly from the archive of Carl Auböck IV of Vienna, who has kindly also vetted the sale.

I began collecting Auböck over twenty years ago, and my collection has grown from a single brass egg to over five hundred pieces at one point. After decades of being forgotten, Carl Auböck II is now back in the forefront of the historical design discussion. Posthumously he is once again receiving the same amount of critical attention he received while he was alive, when the Workshop won four Compasso d’Oro awards at the Triennale di Milano in 1951, 1954 and 1957.

The Auböck Werkstätte designed over 4,500 unique designs throughout its lifespan, during which Carl’s son Carl Auböck III, was also an active contributor. For a father and son to have designed so many unique designs is unheard of, and is an amazing feat in its own right. I offer with this sale, a broad yet focused group of objects that range from paperweights to furniture. While I've concentrated mostly on presenting the rare and uncommon pieces of his oeuvre, I've also included the classics that got me hooked on collecting Auböck in the first place.

— Patrick Parrish

The Workshop at Bernardgasse 23

For generations articles of daily use have been created behind the entrance to the lovely old house, Bernardgasse 23, in Vienna.

Essential for the creative process of these remarkable specimens is a strong feeling for genuine quality, love of form and material, as well as a deep interest in people and an imaginative transfomation of their wishes into a variety of functional objects.

The circle of customers for these Viennese products is truly international. In accordance with the nature of these quality goods, Carl Auböck models are to be found at the most important specialist fairs and high class stores of the world’s capitals. They are as much at home in New York and London as in Paris or Tokyo.

It is not for nothing that the attraction and magic of handmade finished articles coming from Vienna’s Bernardgasse 23 continuously meet with recognition throughout the world.

Steady, vigorous development guarantees that Carl Auböck goods will in the future continue to be in the front line of progress in contemporary design and decorative art.

Excerpt from Carl Auböck Vienna, catalog, 1972

Hinter dem Eingangstor des schönen alten Hauses der Bernardgasse 23 in Wien entstehen seit Generationen Dinge für das tägliche Leben in unserer Zeit.

Für den Entstehungsvorgang dieser bemerkenswerten Modelle ist ein starkes Gefühl für echte Qualität, Liebe für Form und Material, ein tiefes Interesse für Menschen und ein phantasievolles Umsetzen von Wünschen in eine Vielfalt von gebrauchstüchtigen Gegenständen massgebend.

Der Kundenkreis dieser Wiener Erzeugung ist ein wahrhaft internationaler, der Natur der Qualitätserzeugnisse entsprechend finden sich modelle von Carl Auböck auf den bedeutensten Fachmessen und in den Spitzengeschäften der Metropolen dieser Welt. Sie sind in New York und London ebenso wie in Paris oder Tokio zu finden.

Der Reiz und Zauber handgefertigter Gegenstände aus der Wiener Bernardgasse finden nicht umsonst immer wieder Anerkennung und lebhaftes Interesse in aller Welt.

Eine ständige und lebendige Weiterentwicklung bietet die Gewähr dafür, dass die Modelle von Carl Auböck sich heute und in der Zukunft in vorderster Linie mit den Entwicklungen im Design und der bildenden Kunst unserer Zeit befinden.

Auszug aus Carl Auböck Wien, Katalog 1972

“I see the Auböck pieces as sculptures, as pieces of art. Yet they are much more, they have a practical use. The Auböck's were artists and serious craftsmen - everything from this small workshop was painstakingly made by hand.”

Patrick Parrish

Highlights from the Sale

History and Significance of the Werkstätte Carl Auböck

The feverish creativity, the whimsy and the wonder all began in 1912, when the bronzesmith Karl Heinrich Auböck I founded his workshop at Bernardgasse 23, in Vienna’s 7th district, where craftsmen in white coat smocks still tinker today. Under the guidance of Auböck I, the workshop ascribed to producing bronze animal statues and figurines as part of the ‘Vienna Bronzes’ movement popular at the time. But it was not until his son Carl Auböck II, born in 1900, joined the workshop in 1919 that extraordinary things began to happen.

“Four generations of the Auböck family have spent over a century dreaming, toiling, inventing, and creating to give us designs that embody the spirit of timeless beauty, wonder, and ingenuity. They have invited us to witness the profound marriage of form and function in objects meant to adorn and improve the modern home and workplace – pieces that whisper their purpose, while proclaiming their quality and uniqueness.”

Clemens Kois


For more information about the sale, please contact:

Peter Jefferson  |  312 521 7156

Auction / Chicago
13 October 2016
Noon ct

Preview / Chicago
6 – 13 October 2016
10 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday