Josef Hoffmann - Josef Frank

From “Endless Trimmings” to an Open System

This year, the Josef Hoffmann Birthplace in Brtnice explores the relationship between two outstanding artists, Josef Hoffmann and Josef Frank, at the exhibition Josef Hoffmann – Josef Frank. From “Endless Trimmings” to an Open System. The subject follows in the tracks of the monographic exhibition JOSEF FRANK: Against Design in the MAK Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art, Vienna. Frank’s works are displayed in the Czech Republic for the first time. The exhibits represent his free, individual and open system of approaching Hoffmann’s Garniturdenken, the idea of comprehensive interior design. In addition, the exhibition places the works by both artists in contrast.

Until 1933 when Josef Frank emigrated to Sweden, his work was bound to Josef Hoffmann's through several ties. Frank was a founder member of the Union of Austrian Artists (Kunstschau), while Hoffmann was the group's prime mover. Until 1920 Frank would regularly work on Hoffmann's projects and for the Wiener Werkstätte, for example, he participated in the design of the Villa Primavesi in Kouty nad Desnou (1913/14). Along with Josef Hoffmann, Josef Frank in 1899 took over from Heinrich Tessenow the subject of building structures at the Vienna College of Applied Arts where he taught until 1926. Josef Hoffmann and Josef Frank also often collaborated within the German Werkbund and the Austrian Werkbund, for example, on an exhibition held in 1930 and on the construction of a housing estate with model houses organised by the Austrian Werkbund in 1932.

The exhibition Josef Hoffmann - Josef Frank. From "Endless Trimmings" to an Open System clearly manifests how important Hoffmann was, at the onset of modernism, for architects and designers who came after him, thanks to whom the "Viennese style" acquired an international dimension. Josef Hoffmann remained faithful to the idea of Garniturdenken that was promoted both by him and the Wiener Werkstätte even after 1920. In contrast, Josef Frank as an architect and interior designer pioneered new ideas. He was one of the young generation of teachers at institutions like the College of Applied Arts, the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and the Technical University in Vienna. After the end of the First World War, these institutions sought a new style in applied arts. They turned this quest into a period expression and abandoned Josef Hoffmann's style. In their creations and exhibition design these artists executed what art architects had promoted in art nouveau in their efforts at a comprehensive approach. They made use of various stimuli, from the Arts and Crafts movement through architectural forms of the Italian renaissance to folk ornaments. Furniture and interiors were no longer designed in a uniform dominant style but with the application of principles that included white walls, "light" shapes of furniture and a penchant for ornamental details. In this sense, the supporters of the style advocated a higher degree of liberality in interior design and subscribed to the "democratic" manner of living. They followed the motto of their mentor, architect Adolf Loos, who said in 1898 that a room must be "lived in" in the same way as a precious musical instrument must be "resounded".

JH-JF mak




22/6/2016 - 7/5/2017
Rainald Franz, Rostislav Koryčánek
Josef Hoffmann, Josef Frank
Entrance fee
40 / 20 Kč
Josef Hoffmann Museum
Opening hours
April - June Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 5 pm; July - August Daily 10 am - 5 pm; September - October Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 5 pm
Date of exhibition opening
19/6/2016 14:00