Luxury Design, Past & Present
Austrian Jugendstil Sardine Lifter by Josef Hoffmann White Brass Silver-Plated 1906 manufactured by Wiener Werkstatte
Josef Hoffmann, co-founder of the Wiener Werkstätte, was an extremely productive and versatile designer. Throughout his career he experimented with various forms, techniques and materials. In his designs, he was striving for a strong reduction of form to the essential. This is how his characteristic geometric style was established. The scope of his designs ranges from entire interiors, following the concept of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” (total work of art), to small details of everyday life.
In 1906, the Wiener Werkstätte held an exhibition called “the set table”, where the artists of the Viennese manufacture presented their idea of a furnished dining table following the principles of the “Gesamtkunstwerk”. Those ensembles were widely discussed by the Viennese press and society. Today dining services of the Wiener Werkstätte are highly sought after by cutlery collectors and they are among the most precious pieces in their collections.
This silver-plated sardine lifter was also part of such a dining service. It belongs to the “rundes Modell”, one of the most famous cutlery designs by Josef Hoffmann, which has had a lasting influence on our cutlery to this day.
Waltraud Neuwirth, "Josef Hoffmann: Bestecke für die Wiener Werkstätte", author's edition Weltraud Neuwirth, Vienna, 1982 design drawing p.103 and original photograph p.111
Museum für Angewandte Kunst Wien (Museum of Applied Arts Vienna) Online Collection: "Metall und Wiener-Werkstätte-Archiv", inventory number: GO 1988-25