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Joseph Hoffman

Josef Hoffman was born in Pirnitz in 1870. He studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Carl von Hasenauer and Otto Wagner, whose theories of a functional, modern architecture profoundly effected his architectural works. After his studies he visited Italy, his thesis won the “Rome prize” in 1895, the Italian country house, cubic, whitewashed, with windows cut out of the walls inspired his first architectural works. In 1896 he joined the Wagner's office. He was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, a group of revolutionary artists and architects. The functional clarity and abstract purity of his later works mark him as an important precursor of the Modern Movement. Like many of his contemporaries, Hoffmann also wanted to create the complete work of art: “I believe that a house should be all in one piece and that its exterior should disclose the interior”. Hoffman's design combined the simplicity of craft production with a refined aesthetic ornament. Among his works, he has built houses for Kolo Moser, in Vienna, for Adolph Stoclet (the famous “Palais Stoclet”) in Brussels and for the painter Ferdinand Hodler in Geneva. For almost all of these houses he designed the interiors including furniture. Josef Hoffmann died in Vienna in 1956.