This item is priced at $350 AUD (AUSTRALIAN dollars). AU $350 is about $250 AMERICAN.
Background Info and Provenance
A VINTAGE Bitossi dachshund made in Italy in the mid-to-late 1970’s or early 80’s. This is a genuine VINTAGE Bitossi piece made by HAND. There have been recent re-issues of Bitossi pieces (they started happening in 1999- I don’t think they’re being made anymore though- thank Goodness!). The re-issues are nothing like the vintage originals. The new ones look like they’re plaster poured into a mould (they look mass-produced and are). They don’t have the hand-made quality of the vintage pieces. The re-issues found their way into Australia around 2007 and many ebay sellers at the time were labelling them as “authentic” and “retro”. In my eyes they can’t possibly be “authentic”. Bitossi pieces captured the attention of the world because of the HAND-MADE craftsmanship and individualistic quality. The re-issues were not made by hand and they are certainly not “retro” either (they are still only about 10 years old!). They are modern re-issues (copies) of the vintage originals (made using modern mass-production techniques).
In my eyes, you’d be better off buying a modern décor piece from China. All the modern re-issues of each animal look exactly the same- the patterns and decoration are identical for each shape. THIS IS AN ORIGINAL VINTAGE BITOSSI PIECE- 100% GUARANTEED HAND-MADE & VINTAGE. Look closely at our photos and the hand-made quality quickly becomes obvious. You can see roughness in the clay where some areas have not been worked so much. Tooling marks are obvious (particularly down the back) and the thin line decoration that accentuates the bottom edge has different depths- some areas are deeply impressed into the clay and others are very close to the surface. (These thin lines could never be achieved in a mould as the lines are too close together- they were impressed in the surface by HAND by real people (like all VINTAGE Bitossi pieces were). The FLAVIA Bitossi pieces were ALL hand-made and hand-decorated by artisans. Wheel thrown, hand-made, hand-decorated pottery is always individualistic and “imperfect” (as you can see in these photos). It is these factors that makes Bitossi so desirable and collectable. (It is more about the HAND-crafted quality.)
I purchased this Bitossi dachshund from an estate sale years ago when I was still in Sydney (along with 3 other Rimini Blu animals- 2 of these have recently sold). The people clearing out the estate told me this family immigrated to Australia from the UK in 1982 and bought some of their furniture and also most of their personal decorative arts items with them. This pinpoints the date of this piece to the mid-to-late 1970’s. The famous Bitossi factory in Italy started marking all their decorative arts pieces with a FLAVIA impression (like this) from 1976 onwards. In the mid-1980’s when mass-produced Chinese décor items flooded worldwide markets, production of decorative arts items at the Bitossi factory slowed. At this time, the output of items in this colourway (the famous “Rimini Blu” colours) reduced dramatically. By the 1990’s the Bitossi factory was producing a lot of other looks and styles. From the 1980’s, Giovanni Masone took over as artistic director and invited various Memphis group artists to collaborate with FLAVIA including Piero Fornasetti. Bitossi / FLAVIA items in the 1990’s were largely in different styles and the production of animals (particularly in the Rimini Blu colourway) virtually stopped (many earlier animals that remained popular for 30-odd years stopped altogether in the 1990’s).
In the early 2000’s, there was a re-discovery of vintage Bitossi (particularly in Australia) and by 2007 the re-issues flowed into Australia (mainly via ebay). These pieces were not met by the buying public in Australia (and around the world) with much enthusiasm. They lacked the magic and imagination of vintage Bitossi and sellers of the re-issues quickly gave up- the re-issues disappeared only after a matter of years. They’re still floating around and changing hands but they have very little collector appeal. (In saying this though, a few shapes that were picked up as re-issues are very rare (as vintage originals) and interestingly these shapes were also produced in smaller runs as modern re-issues too. (Whether this is a coincidence or intentionally done, I don’t know.) A couple of the rarer re-issued animals have increased in value after production stopped.
Ceramics manufacturer, Montelupo was founded in 1921 by Guido Bitossi and produced traditional renaissance-style maiolica and terracotta wares up until the Second World War. Incredibly the Montelupo factory was miraculously spared during WWII. Production continued during these turbulent years, despite the destruction inflicted on the other local businesses and factories by Allied bombs. In order to continue operation at this time, Bitossi was forced to begin producing their own ceramic glazes, frits and colours and soon began supplying the entire region (including neighbouring countries) with Bitossi-made glazes and frits. From 1946-1976 under the artistic direction of Aldo Londi, the factory collaborated with a number of outside artists, including, (from the late-1950s), Ettore Sottsass. The arm of the business that produced decorative arts pieces took the name ‘Ceramiche Flavia’ at the beginning of 1976. In 1999, the impression changed, the FLAVIA name was lost in the impression and the word Bitossi appeared pretty-much for the first time. (The majority of VINTAGE Bitossi pieces never had the word Bitossi painted on them or impressed into the clay.)
The Bitossi dachshunds are very hard to get (hence the higher price). There are a LOT of mad-lovers of dachshunds out there- I am one who loves seeing a dachshund go past up the street with their floppy ears and distinctive trot! The collectability of these won’t ever die- the value of vintage Bitossi pottery has never waned and constantly increases is value. I sold a dachshund back in 2012 for $165- long gone are those days! I wish I had hung onto more from the earlier days. :+(
To my knowledge, Bitossi pieces were never retailed in Australia back in the day (from the 1960’s through to the 80’s). Bitossi pottery is incredibly rare here and much-loved by Australian collectors. Vintage Bitossi pieces in Australia are about 40 times rarer than America.
The real beauty of owning vintage Bitossi is knowing your piece won’t be in vogue for a season or even a couple of years before ending up as landfill. The hand-made quality of these pieces draws people in- the heart and soul found in every vintage piece will continue to charm people regardless of their era, age and background. This piece has survived over 40 years already and particularly since COVID vintage Rimini Blu animals have become more popular than ever. There are very few better ways to invest in your home and reduce landfill.