Joseph Hoffmann (1870-1956)ù
A pupil under the great Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann was one of founders of the Vienna Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte, an association of studios and laboratories which soared to fame in the 1900s. The success of the Workstatte was based on a keen interest in craftsmanship and a reject of serial production. Members believed that whoever designed a piece of furniture or an object should follow through its production. Hoffmann designed many buildings, in most case including the furniture. His masterpieces, both dating from before world war I, include the Purkersdorf Sanatorium and the Palais Stoclet in Brussels. Hoffmann’s early furniture betrays the influence of Wagner and Mackintosh. Later he distanced himself from the former’s brand of rationalism and from the latter’s decorative approach. In his essay “Einfache Möbel” (“simple furniture”), Hoffmann asserted that his parameters for design were “simplicity, honesty and seriousness”.