Josef Hoffmann

Works by Josef Hoffmann

Dressing set

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1908

Medium:

Silver, glass, natural bristles

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Wiener Kunstauktionen, Vienna, Sale 48, 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte, November 27, 2003, lot 273
Neue Galerie New York, November 2003, acquired from the above

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.28.01-.03
Flatware Pott 86

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1955 (Manufactured in 2006)

Medium:

Sterling silver

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

C. Hugo Pott, Mettmann, Germany
Neue Galerie New York, September 2006, gift of the Seibel Family

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Neue Galerie New York. Gift of the Seibel Family
Accession Number:
2006.08.01-.05
Furniture suite from the apartment of Magda von Mautner-Markhof

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1905-06

Medium:

Mahogany, leather, brass

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Magda von Mautner-Markhof, Vienna
Wiener Kunstauktionen, Vienna, Sale 48, 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte, November 27, 2003, lot 340
Neue Galerie New York, November 2003, acquired from the above

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.32.01-.04
Centerpiece

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1905

Medium:

Zinc-plated sheet iron

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Christie's, New York, Important 20th Century Decorative Arts, December 9, 2003, lot 8
Neue Galerie New York, December 2003, acquired from the above

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.25
Hand mirror

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1909

Medium:

Silver

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 57, November 23, 2005, lot 406
Neue Galerie New York, November 2005, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2005.12
Beer tumbler "C"

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1912

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, black bronzite enamel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.07
Flatware Pott 23

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1955 (Manufactured in 2006)

Medium:

Stainless steel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

C. Hugo Pott, Mettmann, Germany
Neue Galerie New York, September 2006, gift of the Seibel Family

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York. Gift of the Seibel Family, Mettmann, Germany
Accession Number:
2006.09.01-.05
Writing desk with built-in shelves and chair for the study of Dr. Jerome Stonborough for the Berlin apartment of Jerome Stonborough and Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1905

Medium:

Stained solid oak and oak veneer, pores chalked white, metal mounts

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Jerome Stonborough, Berlin; Vienna
Private Collection
Neue Galerie New York, 2001, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2001.19.01.a-.c
Display case from the Fashion Department of the Wiener Werkstätte

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1910

Medium:

Wood covered in gold leaf, stained black on the interior, cut glass

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna
Yves Macaux, Brussels
Neue Galerie New York, November 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.15
Purkersdorf Sanatorium sconce

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Painted alpacca

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 55, June 8, 2005, lot 892
Neue Galerie New York, June 2005, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2005.05
Champagne cup "F"

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1910

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, black bronzite enamel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.08
Desk lamp

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Brass with nickel finish; fabric shade replaced

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 55, June 8, 2005, lot 889
Neue Galerie New York, June 2005, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2005.04
Brooch

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1910

Medium:

Tombac, blue and white enamel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Wiener Kunstauktionen, Vienna, Sale 48, 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte, November 27, 2003, lot 322
Neue Galerie New York, November 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.31
Chair for dining room in Purkersdorf Sanatorium

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Beechwood, stained brown, partly bent and lathe-turned; laminated wood, red leather covering (formerly red oilcloth)

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Purkersdorf Sanatorium
John Sailer, Vienna
Hans Hollein, Vienna
Richard Feigen, New York
Donald Morris Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
Maurice and Margo Cohen, Michigan
Christie's, New York, June 11, 1999, consigned by the above, The Maurice & Margo Cohen Collection, lot 306
Carlton Fine Art, June 1999, acquired from the above
Neue Galerie New York, October 2000, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2000.21
Brooch

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1910

Medium:

Tombac, black and white enamel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Wiener Kunstauktionen, Vienna, Sale 48, 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte, November 27, 2003, lot 321
Neue Galerie New York, November 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.30
Beer tumbler "B"

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1910

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, black bronzite enamel

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.06
Brooch

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Silver, partial gilt; diamond, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, coral, leopardite

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Lilli Waerndorfer, Vienna, December 1904, received as a Christmas gift from her husband Fritz Waerndorfer
By descent in the family
Christie's, New York, December 8, 2000, Important 20th Century Decorative Arts, lot 61
Neue Galerie New York, December 2000, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2000.39
Armchair

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Solid oak and oak veneer, beechwood frame stained black and pores chalked white, original leather upholstery

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna
Josefine Podboy-Grasel, Vienna
By descent in the family
Yves Macaux, Brussels
Asenbaum Fine Arts, London
Neue Galerie New York, September 2004, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2004.07
Change purse

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1909

Medium:

Silver, partial gilt; silk lining

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Von Zezschwitz Kunst und Design, Munich, Auction 13, May 9, 2003, lot 337
Galerie bei der Albertina, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, May 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.12
Four pieces of cutlery: serving fork, cheese knife, butter knife, and cake server

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1902

Medium:

Silver

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 61, November 21, 2006, lot 507
Neue Galerie New York, November 2006, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2006.11.01-.04
Pill box

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1908

Medium:

Silver

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg, New York, 20-21st Century Design, December 8, 2003, lot 51
Neue Galerie New York, December 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.24
Vase

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1899

Medium:

Glass, original wood mount

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 55, June 8, 2005, lot 1017
Neue Galerie New York, June 2005, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2005.06
"Fleckerlschliff" goblet

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1913-14

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, hand-cut and hand-polished

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.09
Bracket

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1908

Medium:

Brass

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Bridge-Club-Wien, Vienna
Asenbaum Fine Arts, London
Neue Galerie New York, February 2002, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2002.13
Corn holders from “Round” service

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1907-12

Medium:

Silver-plated alpacca

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Helena Rubinstein and Edward Titus, Paris
By descent in the family
Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg, New York
Neue Galerie New York, October 2002, gift from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York. Gift of Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg
Accession Number:
2002.28.01-.02
Liqueur glass

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1910-11

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, hand-cut and hand-polished

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.05
Vase

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1906

Medium:

Zinc-plated sheet iron, glass liners

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Christie's, New York, Important 20th Century Decorative Arts, December 9, 2003, lot 9
Neue Galerie New York, December 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.26
Document portfolio

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1929

Medium:

Gold embossed leather; silk lining

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Michael R. Weintraub, New York
Neue Galerie New York, August 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.13
Armchair for the apartment of Bertold Löffler

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1906

Medium:

Solid oak and oak veneer, stained black, new upholstery

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Yves Macaux, Brussels
Neue Galerie New York, September 2006, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2006.06
Wallet

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

ca. 1920-25

Medium:

Gold embossed leather, silk lining

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Ellen Adams, Washington, D.C.
Neue Galerie New York, July 2005, gift from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York. Gift of Ellen Adams
Accession Number:
2005.09
Decanter

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1913-14

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, hand-cut and hand-polished

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.04.a-.b
Candy box

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1913-14

Medium:

Mouth-blown crystal, hand-cut and hand-polished

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna
Neue Galerie New York, April 2003, acquired from the above

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2003.03.a-.b
Butter dish, Model No. 216

Artist:

Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Date:

1904

Medium:

Silver, glass insert

Classification:

Decorative Arts

Provenance

Im Kinsky Kunst Auktionen, Vienna, Sale 57, November 23, 2005, lot 404

Neue Galerie New York, November 2005, acquired from the above

 

 

Additional Details

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Neue Galerie New York
Accession Number:
2005.11.a-.b
Josef Hoffmann
b. 1870, Pirnitz/Brtnice
d. 1956, Vienna

Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann was born December 15, 1870 in the Moravian village of Pirnitz (Brtnice), to Josef Franz Karl Hoffmann and Leopoldine Tuppy. Hoffmann grew up with three sisters and was nicknamed Pepo. His father was the town mayor and also a successful businessman. He built a sizable fortune through the local cotton industry, ensuring the family’s well-being. Hoffmann was strongly influenced by the local Moravian folk-traditions. His family’s interest in the Biedermeier style would influence his development as an architect and designer.

School was a challenge for Hoffmann. At the age of nine, he transferred to the local gymnasium in Iglau (Jihlava), where Adolf Loos was also a student. Hoffmann found the instruction strict. He failed his fifth year twice, an experience that left him full of “shame and agony.” By contrast, he enjoyed the time spent with the son of an architect working on local building sites. This is how he discovered his calling. Although Hoffmann’s father had wanted him to pursue a career in law, he was permitted to enroll in 1887 at the Architecture Department at Brünn’s Höhere Staatsgewerbeschule (Senior State Commercial and Technical School). Loos was also enrolled at the school at the same time. In 1891, Hoffmann passed his final exam and enrolled in a practical course at the Militärbauamt (Military Building Office) in Würzburg, Germany.

Hoffmann and Loos did not agree on matters of artistic style. Their dispute was over the use of ornament, particularly after the founding of the Wiener Werkstätte. Loos nonetheless admitted that Hoffmann’s style was successful. In an article from 1898, he wrote: “I find it difficult to write about Josef Hoffmann, for I am utterly opposed to the direction being taken today by young artists, and not only in Vienna. For me tradition is everything – the free reign of the imagination takes second place. Here we have an artist with an exuberant imagination who can successfully attack the old traditions, and even I have to admit that it works.”

In 1892 Hoffmann applied to Vienna’s Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts). He was accepted and moved to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life. In October, he enrolled in an elite class of architecture led by Karl von Hasenauer, one of the leading proponents of the historicist style in Vienna at that time. After Hasenauer’s death in 1894, Otto Wagner took over his class. Throughout the course of his lifetime, Hoffmann would repeatedly give credit to the influence of Wagner on his work. Along with Koloman Moser and others, Hoffmann was a founding member of the Siebner Club in 1895 (Club of Seven). The members discussed current trends in architecture and art. Also in 1895, Hoffmann received a fellowship, the so-called Rome Prize, and spent time traveling in Italy the following year.

When he returned to Vienna in 1897, Hoffmann became one of the founding members of the Vereinigung bildender Künstler Österreichs (Vienna Secession). He was an instrumental figure within the group. He contributed to its publication Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring), and frequently designed exhibitions for the Secession.

In 1899, Hoffmann was appointed a professor at Vienna’s Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts), a position he held until his retirement in 1936. He taught in the departments of architecture, metalwork, enameling, and applied art. Many artists who collaborated with Hoffmann over the coming years were either fellow professors or distinguished students from the school.

For the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, Hoffmann designed the rooms for the Kunstgewerbeschule and the Secession. This same year, he visited England. He met the Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and also visited the workshops of the C. R. Ashbee’s Guild of Handicraft. This direct contact with leading proponents of the arts and crafts movement would influence him when the Wiener Werkstätte was established three years later.

In 1900, Hoffmann began designing homes for a planned artists’ colony in the Hohe Warte suburb of Vienna. Two of the first built were a double house for Moser and Moll. With these commissions, Hoffmann began to pursue his ideal of a unified integration between architecture and interior elements, which is termed a Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.

The Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops) was founded in May 1903. Hoffmann and Moser served as co-artistic directors and the textile industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer provided financial support. The Wiener Werkstätte was established as a collaborative association between the public, designers, and craftsmen. Hoffmann and Moser placed an emphasis on quality and focused on goods for the home. Their goal was two-pronged: to elevate the role of the craftsman, and to give full worth to artistic inspiration. They wanted the decorative arts to be given the same value as the fine arts.

One of the important architectural projects received by Hoffmann came through art critic Berta Zuckerkandl, who he met through the Secession. She recommended him to her brother-in-law Viktor Zuckerkandl who wanted a modern design for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium. Built in 1904, it became one of the highlights of Hoffmann’s architectural achievements and represented a true Gesamtkunstwerk. A well-designed rest spa for the wealthy, its patients could take baths, treat nervous ailments, and receive physical therapy. The furnishings were all created by the Wiener Werkstätte. Geometric elements were favored as a decorative motif, particularly the square, used in black and white contrasting patterns. This was softened by the use of subtle greens, plants, and mirrors to eliminate a feeling of sterility.

In 1905, Hoffmann was one among the group around Klimt that left the Vienna Secession. Also in 1905 he received the commission to design the Palais Stoclet in Brussels which was completed in 1911. It was the pinnacle of an architectural career which spanned over fifty years. Hoffmann was responsible for all exterior structures. The interiors were designed with a collaborative team that included Gustav Klimt, George Minne, Carl Otto Czeschka, Michael Powolny, Leopold Forstner, and Franz Metzner. It was one of the most complete examples of the Gesamtkunstwerk ideal ever created. The furnishings were made by the Wiener Werkstätte.

Hoffmann undertook other significant architectural projects concurrent or just after his work on the Palais Stoclet. A partial list would include residences for these families: the Brauner (1905-06), Beer-Hoffmann (1905-06), Wittgenstein (1906), Ast (1909-11), and Primavesi (1913-15). In addition to complete architectural projects, Hoffmann also received commissions to design interiors for domestic and commercial spaces. One of the most significant projects was for the Kabarett Fledermaus, which opened in 1907. Hoffmann provided the architectural backdrop. The interiors were a collaborative effort with various artists, many of whom worked for the Wiener Werkstätte.

In 1908, Hoffmann designed the temporary exhibition building for the Kunstschau (Art Show). Around this time, he met the banker and industrialist Otto Primavesi. In 1912, Primavesi commissioned Hoffmann to build a country home for him in Winkelsdorf, Czechoslovakia. The house was completed in 1914 and was one of Hoffmann’s most important commissions. This contact proved vital when the first financier of the Wiener Werkstätte, Waerndorfer, went bankrupt in 1914. Otto and his wife Mäda Primavesi took financial control of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1915. The Primavesis remained the chief financial supporters of the firm until 1930 (Otto died in 1926). Hoffmann was the director until the firm went bankrupt in 1932.

Throughout his career, Hoffmann was actively involved in exhibition design with the Secession, museums, and for international fairs. Among the most important include: the Austrian Pavilion for the International Art Exhibition in Rome in 1911, the Austrian Pavilion for the 1914 Deutsche Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne, Austrian Pavilion at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and the Austrian Pavilion for the Biennale in Venice built in 1934.

Later in life Hoffmann concerned himself mainly with housing projects. He celebrated his eighty-fifth birthday at the Palais Stoclet and died soon after of a stroke in Vienna in May 1956.

Although he considered himself first and foremost an architect, it is his design legacy that is most often celebrated today. His formal inventiveness was endless. This is borne out by his artistic record. While the Hoffmann catalogue raisonné of his architectural work by Eduard Sekler documents approximately 500 commissions, by comparison the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK) alone has over 5,000 Hoffmann drawings in its collection. This disparity is a testament to his prolific inventiveness as a designer and the degree to which his outpouring in this area exceeded his as role an architect.

Yet, when thinking of Hoffmann as a designer, it is important to bear in mind these aspects of his work. He designed both for mass-production and for handcrafted work. Some objects have remained in continuous production and others are extremely rare or unique. Over the course of his career, he designed for these firms among others: Jacob & Josef Kohn (furniture), Johann Lötz (glass), Joseph and Ludwig Lobmeyr (glass), Johann Backhausen & Söhn (textiles), Johann Jonasch (furniture), Jakob Soulek (furniture), Wiener Porzellanmanufakture Augarten (porcelain), Alexander Sturm (metalwork), and Würbel & Czokally (metalwork). Although he was most prolific in the area of metalwork design, he also turned his attention to textile and fashion design. Regardless, he considered everything he created a work of art. He brought a new level of elegance and simplicity to the domestic and built environment.

Hoffmann as a person is harder to quantify, and a shroud of mystery remained even for family and close associates. People who knew him called him taciturn. His former assistant Leopold Kleiner wrote that “he never showed any stirrings of emotion.” It was impossible to come closer to him humanly. He always kept secret anything personal.” A detail that is perhaps revealing: he placed a high value on people with good hands.

In a lecture entitled “My Work,” given in February 1911, he concluded by stating “Our time should at last recall that art alone preserves the value of its colossal epoch-making works as an inspiration for the future, and that we will vanish from the earth with all the things of our civilization if a vigorous art will not transmit them by its inner value.”