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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Papers of Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann
    Date (inclusive): 1895-1950
    Collection number: 850997
    Creator: Hoffmann, Josef Franz Maria, 1870-1956
    Extent: 3 linear feet (6 boxes)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: Correspondence, manuscripts, photographs and other papers of the Austrian designer and architect, Josef Hoffmann, document his involvement in the arts and crafts movement and his writings in art education. The bulk of the papers date to the 1920s and 1930s.
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    Language: Collection material in German

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Papers of Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann, 1895-1950, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 850997

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1985

    Processing History

    The Hoffmann Papers were partially processed by staff at the Getty Research Institute in 1985. Carl Wuellner completed the processing of the archive and wrote the finding aid from October-December, 1995.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann (1870-1956) was one of the most influential architects and designers to emerge from Austria in the early twentieth century. He graduated with distinction in 1895 from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a student of Otto Wagner. Two years later, along with Gustav Klimt, he became a founding member of the Vienna Secession, a group dedicated to creating more exhibition opportunities for avant-gardeViennese artists. Hoffmann began teaching at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule in 1899, a position he held until 1936, and was artistic director of the Austrian Werkbund until 1933. He and fellow artist Koloman Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903. This renowned artist-run group of workshops was devoted to the melding of handicraft with high design, and took as its primary goal the complete integration of environment, architecture, art, furniture, and objects of daily life. Although a great success artistically, it was plagued by frequent fiscal difficulties, and in 1931 its financially-strapped workshops ceased operation. Hoffmann remained active as a designer and lecturer until the end of his life. He died in Vienna.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Josef Hoffmann papers document Hoffmann's career as an architect, designer, and educator. They date from the year he graduated from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts to only a few years before his death. The bulk of the material is from the 1920s and 1930s, and includes many of Hoffmann's writings for public presentations in the years 1924-1932. There are also letters and correspondence, photographs, architectural drawings, printed matter and ephemera. Much of the material is not dated.
    Upon Hoffmann's death, this collection passed to his friend and biographer, Leopold Wolfgang Rochowanski. Later it passed through the hands of rare-book dealer Oscar Schreyer, who scripted English summaries of a number of the manuscripts and letters. There are also photocopies of many of the original papers, though these were not part of the collection initially. Specific manuscripts and letters from the collection are referenced in Eduard Sekler's catalogue raisonné of Hoffmann's architectural work as "Estate L.W. Rochowanski." (see Bibliography)
    The papers deal with the following topics: the relationship between craft and art; handicraft-oriented vs. machine-oriented means of production; the dignity inherent in manual labor; the evolution of the Wiener Werkstätte and its roots in the example of Otto Wagner; the Viennese Secession and the English Arts and Crafts Movement; management of the Wiener Werkstätte; art education; furniture, interior, and fashion design; architecture and architectural projects; the Kunstgewerbeschule; the Viennese Academy; and the Austrian Werkbund.


    The papers are arranged in 6 series: Series I: Letters from Hoffmann, 1925-1938, arranged chronologically by subject (Box 1); Series II: Letters received, 1902-1940, arranged chronologically by correspondent (Box 1); Series III: Manuscripts by Hoffmann, 1895-1938, arranged chronologically by subject (Boxes 1-2); Series IV: Printed matter, 1919-1945 (Box 2); Series V: Architectural drawings, photographs, and graphic arts (Boxes 4-6*); Series VI: Ephemera, 1909-1950 (Box 2). There are also photocopies of many of the letters and manuscripts found in series I, II, and III, filed separately.

    Indexing Terms


    Hoffmann, Josef Franz Maria, 1870-1956
    Akademie der Künste
    Kunstgewerbeschule (Vienna, Austria)
    Oesterreichische Werkbund
    Wiener Werkstätte
    Architecture—Austria—20th century
    Art—Study and teaching
    Arts and crafts movement
    Decorative arts—Austria
    Furniture design

    Form Genre

    Architectural drawings—20th century
    Photographic prints—20th century
    Photographs, Original


    Baudisch, Gudrun
    De Fiori, Ernesto, 1884-1945
    Dülfer, Martin, 1859-1942
    Jastrzembiec, Ludwig
    Kopriva, Erna
    Likarz, Maria
    Loew, Jakob
    Lurje, Victor
    Peche, Dagobert, 1887-1923
    Powolney, Michael, 1871-1954
    Rix, Felice
    Rix, Kitty
    Roller, Alfred, 1864-1935
    Schroeder, Any
    Singer, Susi
    Snischek, Max
    Vago, Josef


    Kallir, Jane. Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstätte. (New York: Galerie St. Etiene/George Braziller: 1986).
    Rochowanski, Leopold Wolfgang. Josef Hoffmann, Eine Studie geschrieben zu seinem 80. Geburtstag. (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichen Staatsdruckerei, 1950).
    Sekler Eduard F. Josef Hoffmann: The Architectural Work. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).