Josef Wackerle, born in Partenkirchen in 1880, already attended the wood-carving school in his hometown at the age of 13. He then trained as a sculptor at the arts-and-crafts school and art academy in Munich. In 1899, he received a scholarship to travel to Italy where he focused on ancient art and pottery.
When he was 26, Josef Wackerle was asked by Albert Bäuml, the head of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg at the time, to submit initial designs, a request that resulted in a cooperation that lasted for decades. In 1908, he designed the large majolica garden figures and, in 1910, magnificent ornamental birds for the world exhibition in Brussels, which to this day adorn the botanical gardens in Nymphenburg.
In 1909, after only three years at Nymphenburg, he was called to the arts-and-crafts school in Berlin – the appointment, however, didn't cause any interruption to his work with the manufactory. When he became professor of art at the Munich academy after the end of World War II, he returned to designing majolica and porcelain figures. Work that resulted in a majolica temple with life-size figures representing four continents that was produced for the German Industrial Show – some versions can still be seen at the Bayerische Nationaltheater.