Tag Archives: black patina

Common Walter Bosse Fakes – “M.I. Germany” Solingen

Walter Bosse Hedgehog Ashtrays - Green Patina Verdigris
Walter Bosse Hedgehog - Green Patina
Walter Bosse Hedgehog - Green Patina Walter Bosse Hedgehog Baby Comparison - Green Patina

I’m not sure how exactly I began this long strange journey, but I know it all started with this green hedgehog. I have seen these on the market for years, but something about them always bothered me. I think I have finally been able to get some proof that not only are the fish ashtrays made by “M.I. Germany” and NOT Bosse, but that these hedgehogs that use the same green patina/verdigris are most likely cast by the same company. If you look at the relatively small amount of “M.I. Germany” marked items out there, you will see they had a fondness for this green patina and a proficiency in casting brass as well as other metals.

Brass Fish Ashtray
M.I. Germany - Brass Fish Ashtray
UPDATE #1

I recently got a tip that there was a fish ashtray out there (that is often attributed to Bosse) that actually had a marking on the bottom. I finally found one and snapped it up so I could post it here. I think we finally have an attribution/artist for these! Surprise, it’s not Bosse! The marking on the bottom of this ashtray says “M.I.Germany”. I imagine the “M.I.” might stand for “Made in” as in “Made in Germany” but it’s kind of a strange way to typeset it. It could also be the artist’s initials, so I don’t want to throw out that theory. So for now, I’d say we can attribute these fish ashtrays to “M.I.Germany”, whether that be an artist’s name or workshop. My hunch is that these fish ashtrays started be attributed to Walter Bosse because of all the green patina/verdigris hedgehog ashtrays like the one posted above. As I have stated previously, I generally view those hedgehogs as fake and not authorized by Walter Bosse.

Brass Leaf Shaped Bowl - M.I. Germany
Brass Leaf Shaped Bowl - M.I. Germany
UPDATE #2
Next up is a ashtray with the same mark “M.I.Germany” on the underside. It is an abstract leaf shaped bowl with little tripod legs on the base. It has the same brown/black and green patina over brass. As we get to see more pieces of their work, it’s helpful to start to get an idea of the workshop behind the “M.I. Germany” mark and gain some insight into their aesthetic. I think it is highly likely that they are the originators of all the German (and possibly Austrian occupied) brass and bronze castings out there with green patina/verdigris. I’m not an expert in WWII trade between countries so I can’t say if this mark was used in Austria during the war when it was essentially considered German territory. I know you can also find a similar marking on vintage straight razors, knives, and sewing scissors. They often have the “i” in lower case and are accompanied by a stamp from their US importers.

M.I. Germany - Etruscan Ashtray
MI Germany Mark - Ashtray
UPDATE #3

Another example of an “M.I. Germany” marked ashtray/bowl with a swirling and somewhat Etruscan style. It also has black and green patina with polished brass highlights.

 

Solingen "M.I. Germany"

UPDATE #4
I have a theory that all of these may have been made in Solingen, Germany. Above is a pocket knife that uses the same mark in conjunction with “Solingen”. It has a stainless steel knife and a body made of deer horn. The “M.I. Germany” mark looks almost identical to the marks on the other items above.

M.I. Germany Key Corkscrew
German Key Corkscrew - Green Patina
Solinger Germany Tag
UPDATE #5
I found the above key corkscrew with the same “M.I. Germany” marking on it. It is similar in style to ones made by Carl Auböck where the shank unscrews to reveal the corkscrew and has a bottle opener component on the top. This one has a greek-key design on the bottom. I then found the same key with the telltale black and green patina of “M.I. Germany”. The next thing I found was a similar German key corkscrew with this “Solinger” (which means “from “Solingen”) golden paper tag. I doubt this is the ONLY company making items with the “M.I. Germany” marking but it is the only workshop I have been able to find using this mark at this point. Let me know if you have anything that can fill in the knowledge gaps!

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Common Walter Bosse Fakes – Striped Bell

 

Walter Bosse Style Richard Rohac Striped BellThe story of this bell has more of a happy ending than some of the other miss-attributions we’ve seen. Thanks to our friends Sal Robinson and Wayne Meadows for finding a copy of an original sales catalog from Richard Rohac’s workshop. We are now able to confirm this bell is made by Richard Rohac!  If you are interested in learning about Bosse, Rohac, Hagenauer and more in the context of their corkscrew designs, go pick up their book  “AUSTRIAN FIGURAL CORKSCREW DESIGN: AUBÖCK · BOSSE · HAGENAUER · ROHAC” (ISBN 978-0-9689294-1-4).

Check out the original catalog page below!

Richard Rohac Catalog Page - Black Gold Striped Bell

And there it is, #64 on page 55 of his catalog! These bells are often unmarked and we’re not sure why except that there isn’t a lot of flat surface are to put a mark on and you’d probably only get a partial mark out of it if you tried to stamp it.

A little background about Richard Rohac. He worked at Werkstätte Hagenauer for a period of time, refining his technique. In the 1950s/60s he branched out and started his own company (see the front of his original catalog below). His works are rendered in a more realistic style and are extremely finely cast and finished.  He worked in brass in the Modern Viennese Bronze style with acid-etched black patina with polished gold highlights. They are often marked with two R’s (RR) with their backs facing each other. He also used a secondary mark “Made in Austria” stacked and set in a slight oval shape.

Richard Rohac Catalog Page

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Common Walter Bosse Fakes – Brass Fish Ashtray & “M.I. Germany”

Fake Walter Bosse Fish Ashtray

We’re not sure who started the rumor that this is a “Walter Bosse” fish ashtray. This guys is not as much a fake, but is more of an original by another artist working with blackening brass. They are most often found in Europe so we’re thinking they might be from another artist working in Austria around the same time. The style is definitely more realistic and heavily detailed, unlike Bosse’s work (Bosse mostly worked in a simple modernist style, with simple holes or dots for eyes). These fish ashtrays often seem to have a grey or greenish tint to the patina, which was the result of not sealing the patina properly or letting the object sit in the acid bath too long. These fish are never marked.

Don’t let all the listings out there fool you! This is NOT a Bosse. We’ve even seen these listed for $500 on 1stDibs as designed by “Walter Bosse for Hagenauer”. Bosse never worked for Hagenauer, they were competitors! Sellers often want to make the item their selling to seem the most valuable or rare so they’ll attach as many famous names to it as possible. These ashtrays are fairly common and come in 2 different sizes, 1 large and 1 smaller. The largest is pictured above and the smallest below.

Brass Fish Ashtray M.I. Germany - Brass Fish Ashtray
UPDATE 3/20/2021

I recently got a tip that there was a fish ashtray out there that actually had a marking on the bottom. I finally found one and snapped it up so I could do a post about it. I think we finally have an attribution/artist for these! The marking on the bottom of this ashtray says “M.I.Germany”. I imagine the “M.I.” might stand for “Made in” as in “Made in Germany” but it’s kind of a strange way to typeset it. It could also be the artist’s initials, so I don’t want to discount that theory. So for now, I’d say we can attribute these fish ashtrays to “M.I.Germany”, whether that be an artist’s name or workshop. My hunch is that these ashtrays started be attributed to Walter Bosse because of all the green patina/verdigris hedgehog ashtrays that are on the market. As I have stated in previous posts, I have a hard time with those sets and I generally view them as fake and not authorized by Walter Bosse.

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Watch the Blackened Brass Patina Process on Carl Aubock’s Optimist/Pessimist

Auboeck Video

aubock_man4
Very interesting video of fellow Mid Century Austrian artist Carl Auboeck’s (Aubock) patination process on his Optimist/Pessimist figures. You can watch the figures go from bright golden brass to the signature matte black color. Both Walter Bosse and Carl Auboeck were contemporaries working with brass/bronze in Vienna, Austria in the 1950s. This is the same technique Bosse used on Black-Golden Line and is the same process we still use today to patina and polish our figures!

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