A few years ago interior designer/fashion designer/homewares person Kelly Wearstler released a little brass bottle opener that had a lot of people drooling. It’s a long, elegant hand intended to give you a hand when a bottle needs to be popped open. We obsessed over it for some time because it’s so goofy. Little did we know that it’s actually a deeply referenced (cough *ripoff* cough) to modernist design icon Carl Auböck. He was known for his little brass objects that reflected the human form in funny ways and have been recreated for decades. His handy work (Ha!) is obviously a crowd pleaser still to this day and his influence is very much still present.
Auböck created his own style, one that rolled into mid-century Modernism in the forties. His bronze work all came from his family being in bronze work and, when his father passed his studio onto him, the influence of Bauhaus and expressionism followed making for the wild objects you see here. In addition to of the body forms, he meditated on shapely, utilitarian items like triangular bookends and square ashtrays and little round cups. There are a few works he did outside of the brass world that included the ridiculous/great/ridiculous “Stone with Natural Leather Cover.”
Of course tiny objects and fancy paperweights weren’t the only things Carl made. He went on to make furniture, kitchen ware, lamps, and more. His accomplishments are huge and it very much feels like his work is having a renaissance. Be on the lookout for little bronze works by him and/or in the likeness of his pieces. You can learn more about his practice from the book Carl Aübock: The Workshop and buy some of his products from OEN.