This year’s special exhibition Josef Hoffmann & Otto Wagner. On the Use and Effect of Architecture in the Josef Hoffmann Museum in Brtnice is dedicated to the relationship of Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) with his teacher Otto Wagner (1841–1918), the centenary of whose death is approaching in 2018. His training under Otto Wagner at the Specialschule für Architektur at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, their joint work in his studio and in the Secession, as well as Wagner’s facilitation of his appointment as professor at the Imperial Royal School of Arts and Crafts were decisive for Hoffmann’s career.
In his “Selbstbiographie,” Josef Hoffmann still writes enthusiastically about Wagner even in old age: “Now we finally had a strong personality amongst us, who, full of ideas, followed his own path and was able to inspire us with regard to everything new and necessary. His charming residence and studio in the Rennweg, with the two flanking residential buildings, especially impressed us, and we were enthusiastic students of our present teacher and master.”
In 1909 he described his work: “Wagner forsakes the purely formalistic, meaning that he doesn’t view his structures as compositions of conventional forms, but instead primarily as attempts to explain or to crystallize the design and the purpose of the structure with the usual means of expression.”
Josef Hoffmann’s design for the monument to Otto Wagner in Vienna can be considered as his last “homage” to his teacher. It is a nine-meter high, simple stone pylon, a reduction of a victory column with a block of type at eye level. It was erected in 1930 on the occasion of the Werkbund congress near the palace gate in Vienna, but was removed during World War II. In 1959, Roland Rainer, then Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, had the Otto Wagner monument erected once again near the Academy.
The exhibition juxtaposes the work of Josef Hoffmann with that of his teacher Otto Wagner on the basis of designs and objects.
Curators: Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics Collection Rostislav Koryčánek, Curator, Curator for Architecture and Design, Moravian Gallery, Brno
The exhibition is held under the patronage of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Austria.