Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956)

Austrian architect and designer Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann was important in the early development ofModernArchitecture in Europe. He possessed an unmistakable minimal style and pioneered theArts and Craftsmovement of the 1900s.

A portrait of Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann.
Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann

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About His Life

Together withGustav KlimtandKoloman Moser, Hoffman led the way for theVienna Secession, which was a movement aimed to move away from Historicism. The ideals of the Vienna Secession eventually led Hoffmann to found the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903.

Using Gesamtkunstwerk (meaning the total work of art) as a mission statement, theWiener Werkstättesought to incorporate all elements of life into a single cohesive composition, unifying the architecture and interior design.

Josef Hoffmann, Palais Stoclet, Vorprojekt, 1911.
Palais Stoclet (1911) by Hoffmann

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About His Style

From architecture to product design, he was the art director of many influential projects of themodernmovement. Hoffmann’s particular style and preference for clear lines are evident in all ofWiener Werkstätte从1900年代早期的设计,强调the use of simple shapes such as squares and circles. With his sophisticated austerity, Josef Hoffmann quickly became Vienna’s most popular architect, incorporating a revolutionary minimalist style and ditching the floral embellishments and frills of the then-popularArt Nouveau.

Bruxelles - Palais Stoclet: A large, simplistic bulidng with green metal accents, three floors and a tower in the center.
Stoclet House

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Bruxelles - Palais Stoclet: Zoomed in photo of the top of the tower. The green statue details can be seen along the top.
Palais Stoclet

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His Major Architecture Works

  • Stoclet House: The masterpiece built between 1905 and 1911 for the financier and art dealer Adolphe Stoclet in Avenue de Tervueren / Tervurenlaan in Brussels, Belgium.
  • Sanatorium Purkersdorf: It was the first great work of Hoffmann that he built on the outskirts of Vienna. Additionally, the structure was a big step towards abstraction and an escape from traditional arts and crafts and historicism. It served as an important precedent and source of inspiration for modern 20th century architecture. Further, it had the clarity, simplicity, and logic that Neue Sachlichkeit predicted.
Sanatorium Purkersdorf in Vienna: photo of a large white buliding with three floors.
Sanatorium Purkersdorf in Vienna
The Sanatorium Purkersdorf- Garden side entrance.: An additional photo of the structure that is zoomed in on the garden entrance.
The Sanatorium Purkersdorf – Garden side entrance.

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  • Palais Stoclet: Hoffmann was commissioned to build in Brussels from 1905 to 1911.Stoclet House is a masterpiece ofSecessionStyle and an example of Gesamtkunstwerk, replete with murals in the dining room byKlimtand fourcopperfigures on the tower by Franz Metzner.
  • Austrian pavilions:Hoffmann designedthese for the 1914 Deutscher Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne and the 1934 Venice Biennale. Then in 1920, he was appointedcity architect of Vienna, and in 1924 and 1925 he carried out various housing projects for the city.
Austria Pavillion by Hoffmann: A large, simplistic structure with light materials and two-tiered windows along the top.
Austria Pavillion by Hoffmann

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Hoffmannalso created furniture and other home commodities, where were handcrafted and mass-produced.

His Major Furniture Works

  • Highback Chair (1904)
  • Purkersdorf Poltrona (1904)
  • Sitzmaschine Poltrona (1905)
  • Kunstschau Poltrona (1905)
  • Palazzo Stoclet Poltrona (1905-1910)
  • Fledermaus Chair (1907)
  • Siebenkugelstuhl Chair (1908)
  • Armloffel Chair (1908)
  • Kubus Poltrona (1910)
  • Club Poltrona (1910)
  • Haus Koller Chair (1911)
Kubus sofa: A mid-sized dark grey sofa with bubble-like cushions.
Kubus sofa

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Sitzmaschine Armchair (1905) -Josef Hoffmann: A dark wood armchair with two by nine holes along the back.
Sitzmaschine Armchair (1905) Hoffmann

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Highback Chair, J. Hoffmann, 1904, Museum of Modern Art.
Highback Chair (1904) by Hoffmann

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