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Hoffmann Josef

Outstanding pair of museum quality sideboards with attendant showcase


Part of a dining room that was designed for the 1912 spring exhibition of "Österreichisches Kunstgewerbe" [Austrian Arts & Crafts]

About the artist Brtnice 1870 – 1956 Vienna
Designed by Josef Hoffmann, Vienna, 1912
Executed by J. Soulek for Wiener Werkstätte, 1912
Material Solid pear and pear veneer, dyed black and polished, carved leaf and grape decoration.
First-class original condition, surface slightly improved, dye retouched in places , fabric reproduced using original examples.
Fabric design for curtain: Wilhelm Jonasch, around 1910; motif: front garden
Fabric production: Wiener Werkstätte
Dimensions Sideboard: H 136 cm, W 117 cm, D 60 cm Showcase: H 135.5 cm, W 121.5 cm, D 42.5 cm
Literature D. K. & D., 1912, vol. XXXI, p. 183; Kreisel/Himmelheber, Die Kunst des deutschen Möbels, Munich, 1973, ill. 980; The Studio IV, 1912, p. 217
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These three pieces of furniture are part of a dining room that was shown in 1912 at the “Österreichisches Kunstgewerbe” spring exhibition. The illustration of the large sideboard, which appeared in the magazine “Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration”, carried the caption: “Prof. Josef Hoffmann Wien, Ausführung: J. Soulek, reich geschnitztes Büffet aus nebenstehendem Speisesaal” [Prof. Josef Hoffmann, Vienna, execution: J. Soulek, richly carved buffet from the adjoining dining room].

The furniture is a highly important example of the anticipation of Art Déco. For the first time it shows decorative carvings of flowers, grapes and leaves on the exterior, which before that usually could only be seen by the viewer after the doors had been opened.

Hoffmann had already used very similar decoration for a writing cabinet that he had designed in 1910 for the Ast villa. Whereas Hoffmann had decorated the interior of the writing cabinet with richly carved floral motifs, in this design from 1912 they now appear on the surface, in a magnificently enhanced form.

In the case of the large sideboard documented, the motif is repeated three times across the entire front (D. K. & D., vol. XXXI, p. 183). The chairs display comparable leaf carving in the medallions on the seat back. (D. K. & D., vol. XXXI, p. 185). Hoffmann also used a similar curved form for the carving of the banisters in Palais Stoclet (Sekler, p. 307, WV 104/XII).

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Outstanding pair of museum quality sideboards with attendant showcase ⋅ Cabinets ⋅ Hoffmann Josef

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