Austrian, 1889 - death date unknown
Ernst Wahliss, manufacturer (Vienna)
Vase, c. 1912
H. 11 x Dia. 9 in.
Architect trained, Karl Klaus served as an apprentice to a cabinet-maker before taking up ceramics as a lifelong pursuit. He executed works for other designers including Josef Hoffmann, and was working in the Wiener Werkstätte about the time this vase was made. Serving as artistic director for Ernst Wahliss , he was largely responsible for the extraordinary body of works produced under the Serapis name.
Klaus's use of powerful graphics is evident in this remarkable vase where a dramatic gold and black chevron pattern frames a stylized floral, leaf and tendril motif on four sides. The flower is likely a variety of bluebell indigenous to the woods outside Vienna. Inasmuch as the Werkstätte executed no ceramics until after World War I, designs were given to such firms as Ernst Wahliss having expertise in opulent, hand-painted faience requiring the finest craftsmanship. Produced in fragile soft-paste porcelain, many of these pieces have either been lost or damaged over the years.