Silver basket with ivory handle, design Josef Hoffmann, manufactured by Wiener Werkstatte, ca. 1905, silver and ivory, marked
Marked with manufacture signet “Rose mark”, “WW” for Wiener Werkstatte, artist’s monogram “JH”, monogram of the executing silver smith “AW” in the circle for Adolf Wertnik and hall mark “Dianakopf” bib.: Archive of the Wiener Werkstatte at MAK Vienna, “Körbchen” (basket) mod. no. S 509, original draft inv. no. KI 12033-42, original photograph inv. no. WWF 93-18-4; comp. Renée Price, Wilfried Seipel (eds.), Wiener Silber. Modernes Design 1780 – 1918, exhibition catalogue Neue Galerie New York and KHM Vienna, Hatje Cantz publ., Ostfildern-Ruit 2003, p. 323
The grid ornament or “Gitterwerk” applied on this basket is one of best-known design elements by Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann. He presumably designed this special decor back in the period of his artistic exchange with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, even before the founding of the Wiener Werkstatte in 1903. In the second half of the 19th century, European art was strongly influenced by Japanese woodblock prints. For both artists Mackintosh and Hoffmann, this Japanese artform was a source of inspiration. Hoffmann got the idea of the grid ornament from the detail of a colored woodcut. Up to present days, the geometric ornamentation stands for the brilliancy Hoffmann`s and in this piece his timeless modern signature is already clearly recognizable. A strong reduction and almost austere design make this basket one of the most iconic objects Hoffmann created in his early years. The workmanship with its folded rim, impeccably executed grid ornament in openwork technique, and elegantly carved ivory handle, testifies to the highest quality standards of the Wiener Werkstatte.
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