Josef HOFFMANN

Pirnitz, Moravia, Austria 1870 – 1956

designer

WIENER WERKSTÄTTE

Austria commenced 1903 – 1932

manufacturer (organisation)

Tea service 1911 Description: kettle and stand, teapot, sugar basin, milk jug and tray
Place made: Vienna, Vienna state, Austria
Materials & Technique: metalwork, silver gilt, wood Acknowledgement: Purchased 1985
Accession No: NGA 85.592.1-5
Subject: Art style: Vienna Secession

  • From architecture and interior design projects to graphic design and jewellery, the designs of Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffmann were synonymous with the Vienna Secession and the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or ‘total work of art’. As a form of ‘tabletop architecture’, this tea service is an elegant example of Hoffmann’s style and attention to detail and functionality.

    Hoffmann trained in the architecture office of Otto Wagner in Vienna from 1896 until 1899 when he was appointed a professor of architecture at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts). In 1897 he had joined other architects and design reformers in establishing the Vienna Secession, a group committed to a simpler and more rational approach to the design of every aspect of the built environment.

    In 1903 Hoffmann became a founding member of the Wiener Werkstätte, a commercial enterprise that produced the designs of Secession members. Its products included furniture, metalwork, jewellery, glass, ceramic and textiles produced by manufacturers across the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hoffman used simple geometrical forms and decorative grid devices for his work, showing the influence of both the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Japanese craft and design.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

  • From architecture and interior design projects to graphic design and jewellery, the designs of Austrian architect and designer Josef Hoffmann were synonymous with the Vienna Secession and the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or ‘total work of art’. As a form of ‘tabletop architecture’, this tea service is an elegant example of Hoffmann’s style and attention to detail and functionality.

    Hoffmann trained in the architecture office of Otto Wagner in Vienna from 1896 until 1899 when he was appointed a professor of architecture at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts). In 1897 he had joined other architects and design reformers in establishing the Vienna Secession, a group committed to a simpler and more rational approach to the design of every aspect of the built environment.

    In 1903 Hoffmann became a founding member of the Wiener Werkstätte, a commercial enterprise that produced the designs of Secession members. Its products included furniture, metalwork, jewellery, glass, ceramic and textiles produced by manufacturers across the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Hoffman used simple geometrical forms and decorative grid devices for his work, showing the influence of both the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Japanese craft and design.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
    From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014