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    Sale 12273

    Historical Design

    26 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 1

    JOSEF HOFFMANN 1870 -1956


    Price Realised  


    JOSEF HOFFMANN 1870 -1956
    executed by the Wiener Werkstätte for the Villa Ast, macassar ebony, boxwood inlay
    40 1/8 in. (102 cm.) high; 15 ¼ in. (39 cm.) wide; 13 ½ in. (34 cm.) deep

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    In the Villa Ast Hoffmann had the opportunity to create a Gesamtkunstwerk - a total art work in which all his fittings and furnishings augmented and enhanced his architecture. As Sackler (op. cit.) comments, 'Hoffmann had the opportunity to create a house in Vienna that, though smaller than the Stoclet House, was as comparable to it in its striving for great preciousness and elegance, as was the Skywa-Primavesi House at a later date'. Eduard Ast, the Austrian construction magnate, had often collaborated with Hoffmann as building contractor and, in 1909, decided to build a villa at the Hohe Warte for his own use. Completed in 1911, the current étagères can be seen in period photographs in place against the white Laas marble walls of the light Living or Great Hall, flanking the doors through to the Oval Salon.

    When Ast's business declined he sold the house to Mrs Alma Mahler-Werfel. She had been married to Gustav Mahler, the composer, Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus founder, and Franz Werfel, the Viennese writer, but is perhaps best known for her affair with the artist Oscar Kokoshka. The house was later bought by the Swiss industrialist Paul Ite.

    Special Notice

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    Eduard Ast;
    Alma Mahler-Werfel, 1931;
    Paul Ite, 1954, and thence by descent;
    Christie's Geneva, 20th Century Decorative Arts, 17 November 1991, lot 5;
    Private European Collection.


    W. Neuwirth, Wiener Werkstätte: Avantgarde, Art Deco, Industrial Design, Vienna, 1984, p. 113, fig. 77, for an in-situ photograph;
    E. F. Sekler, Josef Hoffmann: The Architectural Work, New Jersey, 1985, p. 334, Cat. 134/V, for an in-situ photograph.


    Der Preis Der Schönheit - 100 Jahre Wiener Werkstätte, MAK, Vienna, 10 December 2003 - 7 March 2004, p. 177, p. 204 (illustrated), p. 415.