Josef Hoffmann - Design New York Wednesday, December 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • In 1930, just two years before the dissolution of the Wiener Werkstätte, the German design magazine Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration published an article titled “New Metalwork by Josef Hoffmann” which included illustrations of works with a similar visual vocabulary to the present selection. Praising Hoffmann’s work, the author said, “[The works] are clear and regular in structure - but without lacking that highly personal grace that was Hoffmann's touch. This grace is achieved with subtle means: it lies in the proportion, in the slight deviations from symmetry, and the mathematical regularity, as well as in the occasional use of curved profiles.” The present selection of works by Josef Hoffmann illustrate the designer’s expert manipulation of brass and silver as well as his tempered yet expressive style.

    “Only that which strives for perfection and eternal beauty can be of estimable duration.”
    —Josef Hoffmann
    Hoffmann designed metalworks for the Wiener Werkstätte since its founding in 1903 and, in fact, the metal workshop was the first division of the workshop to operate. Over the course of nearly three decades, Hoffmann created works in metal including flatware, holloware, and functional pieces with perforated, square-patterned decorations called gitterwerk (latticework).

  • Whereas Hoffmann’s earlier works are often rigorously geometric in form and decoration, his works became more expressive and opulent during the 1920s, perhaps due to the influence of designer Dagobert Peche who joined the firm in 1915 and introduced a certain baroque extravagance to the workshop’s aesthetic. During this period, the designs of the workshop were being sold across Europe and the United States, with a showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York that opened in 1921. These pieces express the glamour and opulence of the period while remaining true to Hoffman’s rational control of proportion and form.

    • Provenance

      Private collection, Austria
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 2003

    • Catalogue Essay

      Phillips would like to thank Dr. Christian Witt-Dörring for his assistance cataloguing the present lot. The present model is recorded in the Wiener Werkstätte Archive of the MAK Vienna, under inventory number K.I. 12004-18.


"Brotkorb," model no. S 4453

circa 1920
4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm) high, 10 1/4 in. (26 cm) diameter
Executed by the Wiener Werkstätte, Vienna, Austria. Underside impressed with artist’s monogram, WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, WW, 900, flower mark and Austrian assay mark. 29 troy ozt.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $17,640

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist

Associate Head of Sale
+1 917 207 9090



New York Auction 7 December 2022