Vally Wieselthier

Wien 1895 - 1945 New York

Vally Wieselthier was born in Vienna in 1895. In 1914 she started attending the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts, initially the textiles workshop, then the specialist class for painting under Kolo Moser. In 1917 she changed to the specialist class for architecture under Josef Hoffmann and to the ceramics class of Michael Powolny. After setting up the artists’ workshops in the Wiener Werkstätte in the same year, Hoffmann hired Vally Wieselthier as a freelance employee. Mainly everyday, playfully treated pottery, was created under the influence of the artistic director Dagobert Peche. In 1922 Wieselthier founded her own workshop in Vienna and exhibited, among other things, ceramic sculptures at the ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in Paris in 1925. In 1927 Wieselthier returned to the Wiener Werkstätte and became head of the workshop for ceramics. After taking part in the ‘International Exhibition of Ceramic Art’ in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, she discovered the American market. In 1932 Wieselthier moved to New York for good, where she opened her own studio. In the first few years she worked closely with the Sebring Company and the Cowan Pottery in Cleveland, Ohio, whereby she exercised a unique influence on the American ceramics tradition. In 1945 Vally Wieselthier died of cancer in New York.