Sunday, January 16, 2022

Josef Hoffmann’s Modern Brooches

From Daily Art Magazine:

Jewelry was in fact among the first items produced by the Wiener Werkstätte and remained the mainstay of the firm for 30 years of its activity. Quickly did its original and singular pieces become the most sought-after jewelry items of the time, appreciated by the Viennese high society for their unprecedented personalization aimed at reflecting the wearer’s individuality. Already in 1898 Hoffmann said in Das individuelle Kleid  (The individual dress) that he “would like an element of dress and the way in which dress is worn, to be (…) familiar so that we can recognize it as being in accord with the wearer’s character” and Marianne Hussl-Horman argues that Hoffmann’s jewelry can be read as portraits of its wearers.

 At the same time, the projects are extremely versatile and can be considered as autonomous works of art. This autonomy is achieved by means of stark geometry which extracts from a piece an almost ‘abstract’ quality, and which is enhanced by the omnipresence of the square, the core shape of Hoffmann’s entire aesthetic. He considered it a perfect manifestation of his concept of frame, which he believed should unite all aspects of life making it a total work of art, the Gesamtkunstwerk. Square was so pronounced in his architecture (e.g. Purkersdorf Sanatorium), furniture and tableware (from chairs to fruit baskets), and fabric designs, that it earned Hoffmann a nickname Quadratl (Little Square). (Read more.)


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