Josef Hoffmann: Drawings and Objects from Conception to Design

April 20–June 16, 1991

Josef Hoffmann founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops) in 1903, whose aim was to create high-quality products accessible to a broad spectrum of society. These products ranged in scale from cutlery to architecture. Their conviction was that structure, not ornament, was the essence of good design.

More than two-hundred fifty of Hoffmann’s drawings for furniture, housewares, fabric, and jewelry, as well as 20 decorative objects from the Austrian Museum of Applied Art in Vienna were on display in an exhibition organized by the Goldie Paley Gallery at Moore College of Art, Philadelphia. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to examine Hoffmann’s technique and trace his design trajectory from the preliminary drawings to the finished product.

The Smart Museum sponsored a symposium on contemporary artists and architects and how they utilize designs in their own work.

Curator: Elsa Longhauser, Director of the Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia. 

The exhibition was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Austrian Cultural Institute, New York, the Consulate General of Austria, Chicago, and the Illinois Arts Council.