From: Neue Galerie Limited Edition: 10 Exhibition: Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry Material: Printed vinyl Dimensions: 35" x 96" (88.9cm x 243.84cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Good design and fine craftsmanship are hallmarks of the jewelry created by artists of the Wiener Werkstatte. Architect Josef Hoffmann was something of a jack-of-all-trades in his ability to work in many areas of design, architecture, and craft. His beautifully-wrought jewelry is featured on 10 banners from the Neue Galerie. The original Hoffmann brooch fetched 66,000 euros (USD 85,000) at auction - the banners offer a much more affordable alternative.
Wary of the Industrial Revolution and fearful that it would lead to a world filled with poor quality machine-made junk, many 19th century artists formed groups to advance the cause of handcrafted work by skilled artisans. From this concept, the British Arts & Crafts movement was born, and similar ideological movements in other countries followed suit from the American Craftsmen to Germany’s Deutscher Werkbund to Art Nouveau in France. In Austria, a group of artists in Vienna spawned the Wiener Werkstatte. The group included Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Koloman Moser, and Josef Hoffmann among others.
This group of architects, artists, and designers were exploring the idea of the gesamtkunstwerk, or "complete work of art". This cohesive approach to art sought to unify the fine and decorative arts, and led to designs for buildings and their spaces that involved all elements being designed in unison to create a complete work. Architect Josef Hoffmann was one proponent of this concept, and he pursued it in his commissions for patrons as well as in his work with the Weiner Werkstatte. His interest in all facets of artistry led him to design jewelry as well.
This banner features two brooches designed by Hoffmann in the early 1900s. The top brooch is from 1907 and shows a stylized, multi-color piece wrought from silver and a variety of semi-precious stones including agate, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, and turquoise. The bottom brooch has an even more modern look rendered simply in blue, gold, and silver. The two brooches, blown up to large scale and shown in intricate detail, are sculptural and dramatic on a black background. The works are as much miniature sculptures as they are luxurious objects for personal adornment.
Below the images, white text reads “Wiener Werkstatte Jewelry/March 27-June 30, 2008” and the museum’s name and logo, “Neue Galerie/Museum of German and Austrian Art/New York”. Both sides of this banner are identical.