This year, with the exhibition Josef Hoffmann – Josef Frank. From “Endless Trimmings” to an Open System, the Josef Hoffmann Museum in Brtnice is dedicating itself to the relationship between Josef Hoffmann and Josef Frank. The
exhibition is thematically linked to the monographic exhibition JOSEF FRANK: Against Design at the MAK in Vienna. This is the first exhibition to show works by Frank in the Czech Republic, which juxtapose his free
and individual, open system of design with Hoffmann’s idea of the overall design of furnishings—his “trimmings thinking.” In various ways, the work of Josef Frank prior to his emigration to Sweden in 1933 was closely connected to that of Josef
Hoffmann. Frank was a founding member of the Bund Österreichischer Künstler [Association of Austrian Artists], the so-called
Kunstschau [Art Show], in which Hoffmann assumed the lead role, and he frequently worked on projects by Hoffmann and for the
Wiener Werkstätte until 1920, for example, the Landhaus Primavesi in Winkels dorf (1913/14). Along with Josef Hoffmann,
Josef Frank took over the structural design teaching subject from Heinrich Tessenow at the Vienna School of Arts and
Crafts, where he taught until 1926. Josef Hoffmann and Josef Frank also often worked together in the in the context of the
German and Austrian Werkbund, for example, at the Werkbund exhibition of 1930 and the Vienna Werkbundsiedlung in 1932. In the context of the exhibition it becomes clear how important Hoffmann’s position at the beginning of modernity was to the
architects and designers following him who were to ultimately internationalize the “Viennese style.” Josef Hoffmann, professor
of architecture at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts since 1899, also remained committed to the “trimmings thinking” propagat
ed by himself and the Wiener Werkstätte even after 1920. By way of contrast, Josef Frank was a prominent pioneer as an architect
and decorator, and was himself a member of a young generation of teachers at institutions like the School of Arts and
Crafts, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Vienna University of Technology that was searching for a new style in applied
arts after the end of World War I and that gradually replaced the style of Hoffmann. In their creations and exhibition designs,they realized that which had previously been adopted in Art Nouveau by the artist-architect
with an ambition toward overall design. A variety of impulses were absorbed in the process, from the Arts and Crafts movement
through architectural forms of the Italian Renaissance to popular ornaments. Furniture and interior design no longer followed
a shared dominant style, but instead a set of shared design maxims, which included white walls, furniture forms of a light
design and a joy in ornamental detail. With this in mind, they advocated more liberality in institutions, a “democratic” way
of living and designing, oriented to the model of Adolf Loos, who had already claimed in 1898 that one had to “live a room
in” just like one had to play in a precious instrument.
Curators: Rainald Franz, Curator, MAK Glass and Ceramics Collection and Rostislav Koryčánek (UPM, Prag)
The exhibition was held under the patronage of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Austria.
Josef Hoffmann Museum
náměstí Svobody 263 588 32 Brtnice Czech Republic T +420 724 543 722
May/Jun/Sep/Oct: Tue–Sun 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Jul/Aug: open daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Last at 4 p.m.
Take the “Donauufer” highway A22/E49/E59 and continue on the B303 towards Hollabrunn/Znojmo/Prague, pass Hollabrunn and continue
to the border crossing Kleinhaugsdorf/Znojmo; in Czechia, take the 38/E59 via Znojmo and Moravske Budejovice to Stonarov where
you turn off onto the 402; continue for three kilometers before turning off onto the 403; you will reach the center of Brtnice
after 4 kilometers.
Since 2005, the house in Brtnice, Czech Republic where Josef Hoffmann was born has been playing host to temporary exhibitions
featuring themes related to Hoffman and his circle with the aim of keeping the life and work of this pioneering Austrian architect
alive in the public consciousness.