Established in 1903, the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna's Workshops) was a production community of visual artists in Vienna, Austria bringing together architects, artists and designers.
The enterprise evolved from the Vienna Secession, founded in 1897 as a progressive alliance of artists and designers. From the start, the Secession had placed special emphasis on the applied arts, and its 1900 exhibition surveying the work of contemporary European design workshops prompted the young architect Josef Hoffmann and his artist friend Koloman Moser to consider establishing a similar enterprise.
Finally in 1903, with backing from the industrialist Fritz Wärndorfer, the Wiener Werkstätte began operations in three small rooms; it soon expanded to fill a three-story building with separate, specially designed facilities for metalwork, leatherwork, bookbinding, woodworking and a paint shop. The range of product lines also included; leather goods, enamel, jewellery, postcards and ceramics. The Wiener Werkstätte even had a millinery department.
Most of the objects produced in the Wiener Werkstatte were stamped with a number of different marks; the trademark of the Wiener Werkstatte, the monogram of the designer and that of the craftsman, who created it. The Wiener Werkstatte had about 100 employees in 1905, of whom 37 were masters of their trade.
The seat of the venture was in Neustiftgasse 32-34, where a new building was adapted to their requirements. Eventually the project exhausted Wärndorfer's fortune. The circle of customers of the Wiener Werkstatte and Josef Hoffmann mainly consisted of artists and Jewish upper middle class supporters of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Several branches of the workshop were opened in Karlsbad 1909, Marienbad, Zürich 1916/17, New York 1922, Berlin 1929.
In architectural commissions such as the Purkersdorf Sanatorium and the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, the Wiener Werkstätte was able to realize its ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork), a coordinated environment in which everything down to the last detail was consciously designed as an integral part of the whole project.
For several years, beginning in 1904, the Wiener Werkstätte had its own carpentry workshop. Josef Hoffmann designed a furniture line noted for its simple forms for the firm of Jacob & Josef Kohn. But only few pieces of furniture were made there. Most of the furniture known as Wiener Werkstätte Furniture were made by cabinet-makers as: Portois & Fix, Johann Soulek, Anton Herrgesell, Anton Pospisil, Friedrich Otto Schmidt and Johann Niedermoser. Some historians now believe that there are no existing original products of the Wiener Werkstätte Furniture division.
From 1905, the Wiener Werkstatte produced handpainted and printed silks. The Backhausen firm was responsible for the machine-printed and woven textiles. In 1907, the Wiener Werkstätte took over distribution for the Wiener Keramik, a ceramics workshop headed by Michael Powolny and Berthold Löffler. And in the same year Moser, embittered by the financial squabbling, left the Wiener Werkstätte, which subsequently entered a new phase, both stylistically and economically.
The founding of textile and fashion divisions in 1909 and 1910 brought a further shift in the Wiener Werkstätte's emphasis—away from the architectural and toward the ephemeral. After a close brush with bankruptcy in 1913, Wärndorfer left to America and the following year Otto Primavesi, a banker from Moravia, took over as chief financier and patron.
During and immediately following the First World War the Wiener Werkstatte was influenced by a new generation of artists and craftsmen. It was Dagobert Peche whose ornamental, almost baroque fancies exerted the most palpable influence. After the war, material shortages encouraged experimentation with less durable, less expensive materials such as wood, ceramics and papier-mâché. The original, grand Gesamtkunstwerk vision became diluted and submerged by the Kunstgewerbliches—the artsy-craftsy.
Attempts to expand the workshop's scope—adding such items as wallpaper to its limited program of industrial licenses, and establishing branches in Berlin, New York and Zurich—were not particularly successful. The Werkstätte's financial situation grew desperate due to the effects of the war and the onset of the world wide Depression in 1929.
Architecture, interior design and furniture
Works designed by Josef Hoffmann, Mathilde Flögl, Carl Witzmann, Carl Breuer, Gustav Siegel, Emanuel Josef Margold, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Josef Urban, Otto Prutscher, Richard Luksch, Oswald Haerdtl, Phillipp Häusler, Carl Otto Czeschka de:Carl Otto Czeschka and Victor Lurje.
Although not part of the Wiener Werkstätte, the German-born artist and architect Winold Reiss was influenced especially by the work of Josef Hoffmann.
Works designed by Karl Hagenauer, Josef Hoffmann, Berthold Löffler, Franz Metzner, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Otto Prutscher, Max Snischeck, Josef Urban and Julius Zimpel.
Works designed by Gudrun Baudisch, Josef Hoffmann, Hilda Jesser, Dina Kuhn, Berthold Löffler, Dagobert Peche, Richard Luksch, Jutta Sika, Susi Singer and Vally Wieselthier, Walter Bosse
Works designed by Josef Hoffmann, Robert Holubetz, Hilda Jesser, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Michael Powolny, Otto Prutscher, Gertrud Weinberger and Julius Zimpel.
Wood and mixed media
Works designed by Josef Hoffmann, Fritzi Löw, Dagobert Peche and Vally Wieselthier.
Fashion, jewelry and accessories
Works designed by Lotte Calm, Christa Ehrlich, Trude Hochmann, Josef Hoffmann, Mela Köhler, Maria Likarz, Berthold Löffler, Fritzi Löw, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Reni Schaschl, Agnes ("Kitty") Speyer, Amalie Szeps and Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill.
Works designed by Felice Rix-Ueno, Mathilde Flögl, Lotte Föchler-Frömmel, Josef Hoffmann, Hilda Jesser, Ludwig Heinrich, Maria Likarz, Rita Luzzatte, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Kitty Rix, Max Snischek and Franz von Zülow.
Typography and the graphic arts
Works designed by Carl Otto Czeschka de:Carl Otto Czeschka, Josef Diveky, Anton Faistauer, Remigius Geyling, Heddi Hirsch, Emil Hoppe, Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Rudolf Kalvach, Hans Kalmsteiner, Mela Köhler, Oskar Kokoschka, Rudolf von Larisch, Maria Likarz, Berthold Löffler, Moritz Jung, Editha Moser, Koloman Moser, Dagobert Peche, Kitty Rix, Alfred Roller, Egon Schiele, Ver Sacrum; Beethoven exhibition catalogue and "Kachelalmanach".
Works by Heddi Hirsch, Josef Hoffmann, Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Max Kurzweil, Berthold Löffler, Koloman Moser, Emil Orlik and Egon Schiele.
The Wiener Werkstaette also was active as an agent or merchand middleman with products of: Wiener Keramik, Eduard Klablena, Kaulitz, Bachmann, Cloeter, Lobmeyr, Meyr's Neffe, Moser-Karlsbad, Oertel, Schappel, Loetz Witwe, Tiroler Glashütte, Pfeiffer & Löwenstein, Böcke, Kaiser, Petzold, Berger, Rosenbaum, Schmidt, Backhausen, Portois & Fix, Johann Soulek (Palais Stoclet, Haus Ast) , Anton Herrgesell, Anton Pospisil, Friedrich Otto Schmidt, Johann Niedermoser, Anton Ziprosch und Franz Gloser (Purkersdorf).
Important members of this workshop were the painter Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Emilie Flöge, Max Lenz, Wilhelm Lizst, Emil Orlik, Dagobert Peche, Eduard Wimmer Wisgrill, Leopold Bauer, Oskar Kokoschka, Vally Wieselthier, Otto Prutscher, Emanuel Margold, Hans Ofner, Carl Otto Czeschka de:Carl Otto Czeschka, Michael Powolny, Carl Moll and Maria Likarz.
Goldsmiths and silversmiths of the workshop
Carl Bauer; Josef Bauer; Josef Berger (mark JB: mark's photo aside); Heinrich Bischoff; Johann Blaschek (mark JB); Josef Czech (mark JC); Johann Decker; Franz Egelhofer; Adolf Erbrich (mark AE); Josef Erbrich; Jakob Ernst; Johann Eulenburg; Mathias Faul; Erhard Fischer; Karl Frank (mark KF: mark's photo aside); Karl Götzmann; Augustin Grötzbach; Franz Guggenbichler (mark FG); Josef Habereder; Konrad Häussner; Friedrich Hartl; Josef Holi (mark JH); Josef Hoszfeld (mark JH); Ferdinand Hübl; Josef Husnik (mark JH: mark's photo aside); Johann Ihlenfeld; Karl Kallert (mark CK); Johann Kampf; Heinrich Kloiber; Richard Kocmann; Leopold Kubat; Johann Linhart; Leopold Luther; Alfred Mayer (mark AM); Karl Med (mark MK); Lambert Ottendorfer; Eugen Pflaumer; Karl Ponocny; Anton Pribyl; Karl Pröbsting; Heinrich Prohaska; Johann Schittenhelm; Karl Schleinzer; Franz Stojan; August Swatek; Alois Wabak; Josef Wagner (mark JW); Adolf Wertnik (mark AW); Valentin Zeileis.