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Suite Buenos Aires Josef Hoffmann J. & J. Kohn Vienna ca. 1910

SKU 836

Viennese Jugendstil sitting room suite “Buenos Aires”, Josef Hoffmann, J. & J. Kohn Vienna, mod. no. 675 F and 675 C, ca. 1910, bent beechwood, brass, leather, stained original label

1906 to 1914
Technique: beechwood, bent and stained, brass, leather

On the bottom of the bench original company label “Jacob & Kosef Kohn, Vienna”, underside of one armchair remains of the adhesive label, underside of the other armchair faded remains of the company’s label; Bib.: Das Interieur, XII, 1911, plate 31; Giovanni Renzi, Il mobile moderno, Silvana Editoriale Spa, Milano 2008, p. 172-173

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SKU 836
Description

Known as the “Buenos Aires” settee, this seating group was designed by Josef Hoffmann around 1905. In 1910, it was shown at the eponymous Exposición Internacional del Centenario in Buenos Aires. At this venue, Hoffmann displayed a variety of furniture designed for the company J. & J. Kohn, as well as selected items designed for Wiener Werkstatte.
In this sitting room suite, Josef Hoffmann combines typical design elements. The compact shape is softened by lateral openings, giving the design a certain lightness despite its size. Several technical possibilities offered by bentwood material are used in this furniture. The curved plywood back is skillfully framed with bentwood elements, as is the upholstered armrest. Visible rivets, mounted horizontally, structure the back part of the furniture in a very rhythmical way. With the Buenos Aires settee, Hoffmann created one of his most iconic furniture designs.

Artist

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.

Execution

The Moravian company Jacob & Josef Kohn, originally specialized in the wood trade, expanded its business activities from 1867 to include the production of bentwood furniture. Until that time, the company “Gebrüder Thonet” had a monopoly on the production of bentwood furniture. With this new technique, beech wood was bent into the desired shape under the effect of steam and thus enabled the serial production of modern utility furniture. With the innovative idea of having their furniture designed by important designers of Viennese Modernism, J. & J. Kohn became one of Thonet's strongest competitors. The company commissioned some of the most sought-after architects of the time, such as Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Gustav Siegel, to design furniture. With their high-quality furnishings, the company was successful at many world exhibitions (World Exhibition in Vienna 1873, World Exhibition in Paris 1900, International Exhibition in Turin 1902, to name but a few). Aesthetically in tune with the times, the modern furniture from J. & J. Kohn became popular with the wealthy middle classes throughout Europe and overseas. The great international success was also due to the dense distribution network of the company, with branches in all major European cities. With the company motto "semper sursum" (always upwards) Jacob & Josef Kohn advanced to become one of the most successful furniture manufacturers in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Seating sets, display cabinets and typical Jugendstil living accessories (tiered tables, flower columns, shelves, etc.) from the period up to around 1914 with the original label or brand stamp "Jacob & Josef Kohn, Wien" are today sought-after collector's items worldwide.

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Suite Buenos Aires Josef Hoffmann J. & J. Kohn Vienna ca. 1910

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