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Hoffmann Josef


Masterpieces Spring 2022

Executed based on a design for the dining room presented at the 1912 spring exhibition "Österreichisches Kunstgewerbe" (Austrian Arts and Crafts).

About the artist Brtnice 1870 – 1956 Vienna
Designed by Josef Hoffmann, Vienna, 1912 / Fabric: Wilhelm Jonasch, around 1910; motif: front garden, Wiener Werkstätte
Executed by J. Soulek for Wiener Werkstätte, after 1912
Material Solid pear and pear veneer, dyed black and polished, carved leaf and grape decoration, dye retouched in places, surface cleaned and slightly polished,
fabric reproduced from the original pattern, first-class original condition
Dimensions Sideboards: H 136 cm, W 117 cm, D 60 cm Showcase: H 135.5 cm, W 121.5 cm, D 42.5 cm
Provenance Private property Austria
Literature D. K. & D., 1912, vol. XXXI, p. 183; Kreisel/Himmelheber, Die Kunst des deutschen Möbels, Munich, 1973, illus. 980; The Studio IV, 1912, p. 217

These three pieces of furniture were created based on a design for the dining room shown at the spring exhibition "Österreichisches Kunstgewerbe" (Austrian Arts and Crafts) in 1912. Featuring in the magazine "Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration", this large sideboard carried the caption "Prof. Josef Hoffmann Vienna, execution: J. Soulek, richly carved buffet from dining room shown opposite".

These pieces of furniture are a very significant example of the anticipation of Art Déco. For the first time, decorative carvings such as flowers, grapes and leaves, which had previously only become visible when the viewer opened the piece’s doors, are now shown on the exterior.

Hoffmann had already used very similar decoration for a writing cabinet he designed for Villa Ast in 1910. Whereas Hoffmann had richly decorated the interior of this writing cabinet with carved floral motifs, he used these decorations in an even more magnificent manner on the outside in his 1912 deign.

In the documented large sideboard, the motif is repeated three times across the entire front (D. K. & D., vol. XXXI, p. 183). The medallions in the chairs’ backrests are decorated with similar leaf carvings (D. K. & D., vol. XXXI, p. 185). Hoffmann also used a comparable type of arched carving for the banisters in Palais Stoclet (Sekler, p. 307, WV 104/XII).

Cat. Nr. M22/03

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