Alfred Walter ( Austrian, 1873 - 1915 )


Fachschule für Glasindustrie ( 1856 - 1945 )

c. 1914–1915
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General Description

Alfred Walter achieved the complex design on this glass bowl by means of the broncit technique, developed at the Fachschule für Glasindustrie in Steinschönau, Bohemia, in 1910. The complex process results in a design of metallic black or brown bronzite, a form of enamel, on glass etched to a matte finish. Wiener Werkstätte designers, such as Josef Hoffmann and Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, were among the first to experiment with the technique, an ideal vehicle for the stark black-on-white aesthetic they favored. Stylized flora and fauna, most notably peacocks—identified by prominent crests and patterned tail feathers—dominate this bowl’s bronzite scheme accented with gold. It thus reflects the development of modern style from Hoffmann’s rigid linearity and geometry to Carl Otto Czeschka’s ornamental vocabulary reminiscent of Central European folk traditions as well as the Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements.

Excerpt from

Samantha Robinson, “Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine” label text, 2014.