Vase, Johann Loetz-Witwe, design Josef Hoffmann, c. 1912, model no. II-8126, Opal außen Rosa (opal outside pink), mold blown, etched
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Josef Hoffmann is one of the most important designers of Viennese Art Nouveau; his power of design had a decisive influence on the Viennese art scene from 1900 to 1935. In 1912 Hans Bolek, then artistic director of the Loetz glassworks, called upon the most important Viennese architects to design vessels for the Loetz company for the important Werkbund exhibition in Cologne in 1914. In addition to Dagobert Peche, Michael Powolny and a few others, Josef Hoffmann was the first to design a number of the most unusual models for this exhibition rich in history.
Straight lines and reduction have always been the main motifs in Hoffmann’s designs, and this creed can also be felt here. The reduced representation of bellflowers with foliage, together with a strictly geometric pattern, reflect his formal language exactly. The glass was produced in a technically challenging way. The colourless glass body of the vase was first underlayed with opal and then overlayed with pink glass. In many working steps the pink overlay was etched away with acid, a process in which it is particularly difficult to depict straight lines and geometric patterns.
The colour combination makes our vase a very unusual object of this creative period and an important contemporary witness of the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne in 1914.
Josef Hoffmann (Brtnice 1870 – 1956 Vienna), co-founder of the Viennese Secession and of the Wiener Werkstätte, was an extremely productive and versatile architect and designer. Throughout his career he experimented with various forms, techniques and materials. In his designs, he was striving for a strong reduction of the form to the essential and was a pioneer of geometric Jugendstil. This is how his characteristic geometric style was established. The scope of his designs ranges from buildings and entire interiors, following the concept of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art), all the way to small details of everyday life. One of his most significant works is the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, a Gesamtkunstwerk which he executed for a wealthy entrepreneur between 1905 and 1911 in collaboration with, among others, Gustav Klimt and Koloman Moser.
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