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Introduction to Art Nouveau
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HOFFMANN, Josef HOFFMANN biography by Senses-ArtNouveau.com



Austrian architect, interior designer and applied artist

Josef Hoffmann studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, under Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner, whose theories of functional, modern architecture profoundly influenced his works, and in 1896 he joined his office.

Josef HOFFMANN's portrait

In 1898, he established his own practice in Vienna. In 1897, inspired by Mackintosh and the Glasgow School, he was one of the founding members with Gustav Klimt, of an association of revolutionary artists and architects, the Vienna Secession.

In 1903, he founded with architects Koloman Moser and Joseph Maria Olbrich, the Wiener Werkstätte for decorative arts.

They aspired to the renaissance of the arts and crafts and to bring more abstract and purer forms to the designs of buildings and furniture, glass and metalwork, following the concept of total work of art. Hoffman's works combined functionality and simplicity of craft production with refined and innovative ornamental details and geometric elements. He is an important precursor of the Modern Movement and Art Deco.

In 1905, Hoffmann, Klimt and the Wiener Werkstätte artists, designed the Palais Stoclet, in Brussels, the Capital of Art Nouveau and city of Victor Horta.

A metal basket designed by Josef HOFFMAN
The Art Nouveau concept of a "total work of art " was fully realized in this magnificent house. Every detail, surface, ornament, inside or outside, is the complete expression of harmony and beauty: from the façade in gray marble and bronze fittings to the elegant garden lay-out; from the entrance hall and salons to the private concert hall, decorated with marble of various colors. The master piece of the house is the luxurious dinning room, decorated with black and white marble, rare wood and gold-embossed leather furniture, enriched by silver table decor and silverware designed by Hoffmann. The finishing touch is the mosaic friezes by Klimt, with gold, white and multi-colored tiles, featuring abstract decorative ornaments, spiral motifs of stylized trees and the most famous two figures embracing.


Palais Stoclet, Avenue de Tervueren 281, Brussels, Belgium (1905-1911)

LINKS to Exhibitions on ART NOUVEAU:

until the end of May 2006, a superb exhibition on Art Nouveau, the Wiener Werkstätte and the Palais Stoclet in Brussels (Centre for Fine Arts - BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium): Palais Stoclet

Important Ehibition on Art Nouveau, from 17 March to 23 July 2006 (Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium) : www.expo-bing.be

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