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Finding aid for the Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann papers, 1895-1950
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Josef Franz Maria Hoffmann papers
    Date (inclusive): 1895-1950
    Number: 850997
    Creator/Collector: Hoffmann, Josef Franz Maria
    Physical Description: 3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    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.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in German

    Biographical 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.

    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.

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Hoffmann, Josef Franz Maria

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Wiener Kunstgewerbe-Schule
    Wiener Werkstätte
    Oesterreichische Werkbund
    Akademie der Künste

    Subjects - Topics

    Furniture design
    Decorative arts -- Austria
    Architecture -- Austria -- 20th century
    Arts -- Study and teaching
    Arts and crafts movement

    Genres and Forms of Material

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


    Vágó, József
    Singer, Susi
    Snischek, Max
    Roller, Alfred
    Schroeder, Any
    Hoffmann, Josef Franz Maria
    Rix, Kitty
    Kopriva, Erna
    Powolny, Michael
    Likarz, Maria
    Peche, Dagobert
    Loew, Jakob
    Lurje, Victor
    Baudisch, Gudrun
    De Fiori, Ernesto
    Dülfer, Martin
    Jastrzembiec, Ludwig


    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).