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Chair

Chair

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1905 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Josef Hoffmann, born 1870 - died 1956 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bentwood, beech, with replacement upholstery in red leather

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.289-1967

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This chair was designed for the first floor dining room at the Pukersdorf Sanatorium in Austria. Like many other of Hoffmann's designs at this time, the decorative elements of the chair have a functional dimension. For instance, the corner balls or blocks reinforcing the seat and the shaped bentwood backrail. The punched and geometrically arranged decoration are also typical and can be found on many other Hoffmann pieces.

The chair's design was praised by contemporary art critics but does not appear to have been produced for long; perhaps the rather severe lines were suited better for use in a public building than in the home.

Physical description

Chair in beech, of bentwood construction, the straight front legs turned, the straight back legs of sqaure section, but continuing up in tapering, turned section to create a continuous back frame of rectangular shape with rounded top corners. Solid wooden ball ornament which strengthens the junction of front legs and seat rail. The seat rounded, the front square with rounded corners. This is upholstered in red letaher (replacement), fixed with large nails. The size of the nails is matched by the two rows of pierced holes drilled in the narrow plywood splat of the back, set in a narrow bentwood frame with rounded corners.

Place of Origin

Vienna (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1905 (made)

Artist/maker

Josef Hoffmann, born 1870 - died 1956 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Bentwood, beech, with replacement upholstery in red leather

Dimensions

Height: 98.5 cm, Width: 45 cm, Depth: 49.5 cm max including balls, Height: 45.3 cm of seat

Object history note

This chair was designed for the first floor dining room at the Purkersdorf Sanatorium in the Austrian town of that name. Original photographs of the chair in the Sanatorium are in the Wiener Werkstätte records in the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (XIV 87,88,97).

Historical context note

In Die Kunst (1902), Bertha Zuckerkandl (1863-1945), journalist and supporter of advanced design, praised Hoffmann's designs for the 14th Secession Exhibition; again in Die Kunst (1904) she praised his work. About this date she recommended him to her brother-in-law Dr Viktor Zuckerkandl and as a result Hoffmann was commissioned to design the Sanatorium in Pukersdorf, Austria.
This chair design, although praised by the critic Ludwig Hevesi (1842-1910) and widely illustrated, does not seem to have survived long as a standard Kohn product.

Descriptive line

Of beech, in bentwood technique, with upholstery in red leather. Austrian 1904-5 designed by Josef Hoffmann manufactured by J&J Kohn, Vienna

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jervis, Simon: Furniture Of About 1900 From Austria & Hungary In The Victoria & Albert Museum, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1986, no.10, p. 32, 33
The Art Revival in Austria, Studio Special Summer Number, 1906, illus. c. 10 "Prof Josef Hoffmann Dining Room of the Sanatorium at Pukersdorf. Executed by the Wiener Werkstätte" Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration CVIII, 1906, pp.432, 433, 434, illust.
Sekler, Eduard: Josef Hoffmann, Vienna, 1982, pp.67-72, pp. 286-289, illus.
Schweiger, Werner, J.: Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna, 1982, p. 49, illus., pp. 152-154, illus.

Labels and date

DINING CHAIR

Designed by Josef Hoffman (Austrian, 1870-1956)
Made by J. & J. Kohn, Vienna, Austria
Steam-bent, turned and laminated beechwood with (later) leather upholstery
About 1904-5

Designed for the dining room of the Hoffmann's Puckersdorf Sanitorium, a fashionable spa outside Vienna that catered to individuals suffering from nervous disorders. From 1906 the chair was included in Kohn's catalogue as part of a suite that included an armchair, settee and table.

Circ.289-1967 [1989-2006]

Materials

Beech; Leather; Bentwood

Techniques

Joining; Steam bending; Upholstering

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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