On March 27, 2008, the Neue Galerie opens “Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry,” with more than forty precious objects drawn from public and private collections. The exhibition will highlight masterpieces created by the Wiener Werkstätte between the firm’s inception in 1903 and 1920. Organized by Janis Staggs, Assistant Curator, Neue Galerie New York. It will be on view at the Neue Galerie through September 1, 2008.
The show will feature significant pieces by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Dagobert Peche, among others. Supplemental materials will include design drawings and photographs of prominent clients, with an emphasis on fashion designer Emilie Flöge, confidante of Gustav Klimt, who assembled a large collection of Wiener Werkstätte jewelry.
The Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshops, was established in 1903. The firm’s artistic co-founders—Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser—subscribed to the English Arts and Crafts ideal of exceptionally well-made objects designed by artists and executed by specialized craftsmen. Jewelry was among the first objects produced by the firm. Following the example of near contemporaries René Lalique and Louis Comfort Tiffany, Hoffmann and Moser shared the belief that jewelry should be valued for its artistic merit and not simply for its monetary value.
This is the first major museum exhibition devoted exclusively to these rare and often unique designs. It will offer the public an opportunity to see a significant display of important loans, supplemented by the impressive holdings of the Neue Galerie. An illustrated catalogue, written by Ms. Staggs, will accompany the exhibition.