Goldscheider Manufactory and Majolica Factory (Austrian, founded 1885)

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Goldscheider Porcelain Manufactory and Majolica Factory is an Austrian ceramic factory based in Vienna. It was founded by Friedrich Goldscheider in 1885. Goldscheider was born in Pilsen in Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and now part of the Czech Republic.

The factory achieved success in a relatively short space of time, opening subsidiary branches in Paris, Leipzig and Florence. It was particularly well-known for its terracotta, bronze and faience collectables produced in the popular Art Nouveau style. Later, into the 20th Century, Goldscheider would start producing a large quantity of equally popular Art Deco style figures.

In addition, Goldscheider manufactured a number of Orientalist figures and busts in terracotta and bronze. Each new product was based on a design by a renowned Viennese sculptor who worked with Goldscheider.

Goldscheider’s figures were very popular among the urban middle classes of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. These were mass produced pieces, but each one was individually painted freehand.

Friedrich Goldscheider’s fortunes changed when the ruling Nazi party took over the factory in 1938, at which point the Goldscheider family was forced to emigrate to America. There, they set up two new factories: one in England and one in New Jersey. After the war, in 1950, the Vienna factory was returned to the Goldscheider factory.

The factory continues to operate today, but it is Goldscheider’s antique pieces which continue to attract the most interest worldwide, in no small part because they are unique and highly collectable. Antique Goldscheider bronzes and terracotta figures reach high prices at auction, and the factory was the subject of major exhibitions at the Vienna Museum in 2007-8, and at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York in 2009.