By the late 1880s, merchant Ernst Wahliss had established himself as Vienna’s leading retailer in porcelain and ceramic goods. He had run a ceramic store in Vienna since 1863, whose rapid international success enabled him to open stores in major European cities such as London and to supply many of the European royal families in ceramics of the highest quality.
In 1894, Ernst Wahliss purchased the Alfred Stellmacher factory in Turn-Teplitz, Bohemia (in today’s Czech Republic), and began to produce decorative ceramics under the name “Ernst Wahliss Kunst, Porzellan und Fayence Fabrik.”
After Ernst’s death in 1900, his son Gerhard Martin Wahliss acquired the factory in 1907 and continued to create a vari- ety of functional and decorative items in earthenware and porcelain. The Serapis-Wahliss line, introduced in 1911, was made of ne white earthenware and decorated with geometrically stylized natural forms such as blossoms and peacock feathers. Hand painted with richly colored enamels, such decors represented the vanguard in Austrian ceramics at the time. Designers like Karl Klaus, who had studied with Josef Hoffmann, brought a rare delicacy and urban sophistication to Wahliss’s aesthetic blueprint.