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Josef Hoffmann Furniture

Austrian, 1870-1956

The Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann was a central figure in the evolution of modern design, and a leader in an aesthetic movement born in Europe in the late 19th century that rejected florid, extravagant ornamentation in favor of a new emphasis on simplicity of line.

As a founder of the Vienna Secession — a union of artists and designers determined to upend Austria’s artistic conservatism — and later, a founder of the turn-of-the-century Wiener Werkstätte (in English: the Viennese Workshops), a design cooperative that produced superbly crafted furniture and housewares, Hoffmann was a pioneering practitioner of what would become a fundamental principle of modernism: that good design is a way of life.

Hoffmann came of age amidst a shift in the culture of the applied arts, as a conservative order that looked only to the past for inspiration was pushed aside. But what, exactly, would replace that order was in question — and Hoffmann’s career embodies the developing patterns of design’s new spirit. His architectural work reflects his time as a student of the Vienna architect Otto Wagner, who disdained excessive decoration and employed new materials such as steel girders and reinforced concrete to create buildings with airy, open interiors full of light.

As a designer of furniture and interiors, Hoffmann was consistently open-minded about the aesthetics he explored. He was an early adherent of the flowing, organic forms of the Art Nouveau design movement that began to flourish in the late 1880s — but by the opening of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903, Hoffmann’s designs embraced the beauty of geometry in pieces that feature grids and angular forms.

Hoffmann’s greatest works reflect his ability to combine seemingly conflicting design visions into coherent wholes. His architectural masterpiece, the Stoclet Palace in Brussels, has an exterior that groups together simple geometric forms and spacious interiors marked by subtly naturalistic design details that lend rooms an air of charm and geniality.

Hoffmann’s signature furniture design is an adjustable lounge chair — the Sitzmaschine (1905) — that marries a curving frame with square and rectangular back- and side rests. This piece, like so many others by Hoffmann, reflects a groundbreaking, forward-thinking appreciation for the union of different looks and sources that marks the best of interior design in our own day. Moreover, items offered on 1stDibs — which range from enameled silver jewelry, to silver flower vase baskets and other decorative objects, to sofas, lighting pendants and sconces — testify to the astonishing breadth of Hoffman’s creative pursuits. He was truly a giant of design.

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Creator: Josef Hoffmann
Dealer: Weinberg Modern
Encyclopedie Des Arts Décoratifs Et Industriels Modernes, Complete in 12 Volumes
By Josef Hoffmann, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann
Located in New York, NY
First edition, complete in 12 volumes, of the Encyclopedie des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernest au XXeme Siecle, published by Imprimerie Nationale, Office Central D'Editions ...
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1920s French Art Deco Vintage Josef Hoffmann Furniture

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"Austrian Applied Arts" Book
By Josef Hoffmann
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One-volume survey of "Austrian Applied Arts", primarily Secession, with an introduction by Josef Hoffmann. Published in 1930 by Heinz & Co. Organized by t...
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1930s Austrian Vienna Secession Vintage Josef Hoffmann Furniture

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Josef Hoffmann furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Josef Hoffmann furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Josef Hoffmann furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 229 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 139 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Josef Hoffmann were created in the Art Nouveau style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Wiener Werkstätte, Koloman Moser, and Woka Lamps. Prices for Josef Hoffmann furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $399 and can go as high as $99,099, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $5,347.
Questions About Josef Hoffmann Furniture
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 7, 2024
    Josef Hoffmann invented the Sitzmaschine, an adjustable lounge chair that the Austrian designer unveiled in 1905. Literally called a “machine for sitting,” it was originally created for a sanatorium in Purkersdorf, near Vienna. It has a curving frame with square and rectangular back and side rests. Like so many other designs by Hoffmann, this piece reflects a forward-thinking appreciation for the union of different sources, here the Arts and Crafts movement and modern design. Find a collection of Josef Hoffmann furniture and decorative objects on 1stDibs.

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