COLLEGIALITY AND CONTROVERSY. Josef Hoffmann and the Architects of Moravian Modernism from the Wagner School in Vienna is the tenth exhibition on the life and work of Josef Hoffmann (18701956) in the Josef Hoffmann Museum in Brtnice, and presents Hoffmanns oeuvre in confrontation with two other Wagner students. Like Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich (18671908) and Leopold Bauer (18721938) belonged to a generation of talented architects from the Province of Moravia who had a decisive formative influence on architecture in Vienna around 1900. A specific selection of around fifty drawings, photographs, and texts outlines their role in the development of architecture in the imperial capital of Vienna and analyses Hoffmanns contribution to architectural innovation in Moravia.
Hoffmanns career as an architect largely ran parallel to those of Olbrich and Bauer. All three were not only Wagner students but also members of the Siebener Club [The Club of Seven] an activist organization preliminary to the Secession initiated by students of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and founding members of the Vienna Secession. Hoffmann and Bauer attended the Staatsgewerbeschule [State Vocational School] in Brno together and both graduated from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1896. Besides their assistance in Otto Wagners studio, they both worked for the magazine Der Architekt [The Architect]. But it turned out to be a controversial relationship, already manifest in their attitude to their teacher Wagner: while Hoffmann remained a devotee of Wagner the whole of his life and was his partner in erecting the Secession building in 1898/99, Leopold Bauer, although a supporter at first, became a keen critic of his master. Bauers step to independence after working in Wagners studio for two years marked the break with his teacher and paved the way towards an autonomous stylistic development: his line, originally modernistic in tendency, gave way to a new Classicism. In direct contact with Hoffmanns work, Bauer went on to add another storey to the Westend Sanatorium in Purkersdorf (1925/26)against Hoffmanns willand to build the villa for the clinic director (1907/08). Olbrich, highly esteemed by Wagner and intended as his successor, retreated from the contest and went to Germany. Hoffmann took over Olbrichs commission for the villa colony on Hohe Warte in Vienna when the latter was called to Darmstadt by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse (GER) to co-found and set up the Mathildenhöhe Artists Colony. Here he worked on putting the ideas of the Gesamtkunstwerk [total work of art] into practice and moved on from the initial, curvilinear forms to focusing on the tectonics of material. All three Wagner students concentrated individually on an approach which envisaged the overall design of buildings and interior spaces, and they consequently worked on designing interiors, furniture, and objects.
Curator Rainald Franz, Curator MAK Glas and Ceramics Collection