Valerie Wieselthier (1896 – 1945) Austrian-American ceramic artist

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Valerie Wieselthier featured image
Valerie Wieselthier featured image

Idiosyncratic style – coarse modelling and drip-glass effects

Valerie Wieselthier was an Austrian designer who lived from 1895 to 1945. She was the daughter of a lawyer


Between 1914 and 1918, she attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, where she studied with Michael Powolny, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffman, and others.

Biography of Valerie Wieselthier

She was the head of the Wiener Werkstätte’s ceramic workshop. She worked in a highly distinctive style with coarse modelling and drip-glass effects. When the Ausgarten porcelain factory reopened in 1924, she contributed designs to ceramics as well as fabrics. She established her workshop in 1922. She moved to the United States in 1929, where she created ceramic designs for Contempora in New York and Sebring Pottery in Ohio. She was also involved in creating glassware, textiles, and paper-maché mannequins. She created the metal elevator doors for the 1929—30 Squibb building in New York (architect Ely Jacques Kahn). She travelled to Chicago with Paul Lester Wiener in 1933 and worked for the Contempora Group and the Sebring Pottery Company as a designer. She died of stomach cancer at a New York hospital on September 1, 1945.

Kneeling Vessel Carrier (dinner table top) Vally Wieselthier 1928
Kneeling Vessel Carrier (dinner table top) Vally Wieselthier 1928

Valerie Wieselthier Exhibitions

She first showed work in Germany in 1922. Work was shown at 1925 Paris’ Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ (gold and silver medals); 1928–29 ceramic exhibitions, American Federation of Arts, New York; the subject of exhibitions at Art Center, 1928, and Weyhe Galleries, 1930, both New York. Her work is held by many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum.

Valerie Wieselthier Wiener Werkstätte Keramik Centerpiece
Valerie Wieselthier Wiener Werkstätte Keramik Centerpiece

Valerie Wieselthier view on Pottery

“There are arts which have no deep message to give the world save that of their own beauty and the artist’s joy in making, intimate arts that make life gayer and yet have all the seriousness of a thing that is felt intensely and worked out with the utmost care. Of these pottery is the chief. Good pottery has the feeling of purpose always in it; it expresses attitudes and moments of life which to the great poet or prophet may seem almost superficial but are, for the ordinary people of the very stuff of life itself, the delight of the true “Lebenskünstler.”


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Clark, G., Kuchta, R. A., & Hughto, M. (1979). A century of ceramics in the United States: 1878-1978: a study of its development. E.P. Dutton.

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