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AN IMPORTANT DIAMOND AND GEM-SET SILVER AND GOLD BROOCH
caption: Period drawings of brooch designs by Josef Hoffmann including the design for the present example (MAK--Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst) caption: Drawing of the present brooch designed for Fritz Wärndorfer by Josef Hoffmann (MAK--Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst) caption: August Wärndorfer, Fritz Wärndorfer's brother (Courtesy of the Wärndorfer family) caption: Nora Wärndorfer Hodges, Fritz Wärndorfer's niece, wearing the brooch and a dress designed by the Wiener Werkstätte, circa 1920 (Courtesy of the Wärndorfer family) caption: Portrait of Josef Hoffmann, circa 1903 (MAK--Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst) caption: Portrait of Fritz Wärndorfer, circa 1903 (MAK--Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst)
AN IMPORTANT DIAMOND AND GEM-SET SILVER AND GOLD BROOCH

DESIGNED BY JOSEF HOFFMANN FOR MRS. FRITZ WÄRNDORFER, 1904, KARL PONOCNY, GOLDSMITH, EXECUTED BY THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE

Details
AN IMPORTANT DIAMOND AND GEM-SET SILVER AND GOLD BROOCH Designed by Josef Hoffmann for Mrs. Fritz Wärndorfer, 1904, Karl Ponocny, Goldsmith, Executed by the Wiener Werkstätte with rose-cut diamonds, moonstones, opal, lapis lazuli, coral and hardstone plaques 2 x 2in. (5.1 x 5.1cm.) stamped with monograms for designer, goldsmith and manufacturer, Rosenmark, the reverse also with paper label PRIVATBESITZ
Provenance
Lilly Wärndorfer
By descent in the family
Literature
Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Die Wiener Werkstätte: Modernes Kunsthandwerk von 1903-1932, 1967, p. 25, cat. no. 174
Exhibited
Vienna, Austria, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Die Wiener Werkstätte: Modernes Kunsthandwerk von 1903-1932, May 22-August 20, 1967

New York, New York, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna 1900: Art, Architecture, and Design, July 3-October 21, 1986
Post Lot Text
Fritz Warndorfer was a patron, collector, and staunch supporter of the modern movement in all artistic fields. He was born on May 5, 1868, into a family made wealthy by its large textile manufacturing interests that included cotton mills in Bohemia and Lower Austria. After fulfilling his compulsory military service, Warndorfer was sent to Great Britain in the early 1890s to familiarize himself with the country's textile industry before joining the family business. This trip served as a turning point in his life, since he spent much time visiting museums and galleries and admiring works of the Arts & Crafts artists and the Glasgow School. In Vienna, Warndorfer was a follower of the Vienna Secession, a movement founded by Gustav Klimt, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, and Koloman Moser in 1897 to counteract the Art Nouveau style and promote the modern arts. Warndorfer met Hoffmann in 1898 and thus began a relationship that would make Warndorfer an active member of the Viennese art scene.Hoffmann and Moser wanted to form a workshop to complement the Vienna Secession, and Warndorfer, excited by the idea, joined the project wholeheartedly and agreed to finance it. They based the enterprise, called the Wiener Werkstatte, on Robert Ashbee's Guild of Handicraft, and it was officially founded in 1903. Its early production was limited to commissions, but due to the lack of widely commercial output, it was never a great financial success. Despite this, the Wiener Werkstatte did grow. Having begun with workshops for metal, leather, painting and bookbinding, it expanded to include woodworking, textiles, ceramics, glassware, fashion, and architectural design. The Wiener Werkstatte received two significant architectural commissions in 1904 and 1905, the Purkersdorf Sanatorium and the Palais Stoclet respectively, both of which were mainly undertaken by Josef Hoffmann.Warndorfer and his wife Lilly, who also came from a wealthy family, were not only the Wiener Werkstatte's primary financial backers, they were also among its most loyal patrons. Their house at Carl-Ludwig-Strasse 45 in Vienna was a veritable "Mecca of the modern movement" (Peter Vergo, "Fritz Warndorfer and Josef Hoffmann," Burlington Magazine (July 1983): 403). Warndorfer commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh to design a music room, and Hoffmann designed the adjacent dining room, including the silver flatware, which is now in the collections of the Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna. Both rooms were nearly completed by December 1902. Throughout the house, Warndorfer incorporated furniture by various members of the Wiener Werkstatte and the Vienna Secession as well as sculptures by Georges Minne, drawings by Aubrey Beardsley, and a collection of drawings and important early paintings by his close friend Gustav Klimt. Warndorfer also commissioned Wiener Werkstatte artists to create pieces for his mother including the Moser desk now in the collection of the Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna. He also placed special orders for his wife, exemplified by the brooch offered here.Although the Wiener Werkstatte was artistically on the cutting edge, its lack of financial success depleted Warndorfer's resources. His family was forced to sell a cotton mill in 1907; yet even so, the banks foreclosed on him in 1909. Still, the Wiener Werkstatte grew, and the fashion department opened two branches in 1910-11. By 1913, the Wiener Werkstatte, having managed to survive, was in debt for 1.5 million kronen. Warndorfer's brother, August, and the rest of the family paid the debt, but Warndorfer himself declared bankruptcy. In 1913, he transferred the deed for the house to his wife Lilly. Warndorfer moved to the United States in 1914, and a year later, Lilly, charged with selling the house, moved in with her mother. During that time, the Wiener Werkstatte was reorganized under the generous patronage of banker Otto Primavesi. However, it was only as enduring as its financiers. Primavesi died in 1926, and in 1932, the Wiener Werkstatte, unable to maintain itself, permanently closed.Warndorfer commissioned the brooch offered here for his wife Lilly and it was completed on December 24, 1904. Designed by Hoffmann and executed by goldsmith Karl Ponocny, it embodies the design principles and motifs of the Wiener Werkstatte. The metal workshops were the first to open, and the jewelry designs mirrored those of the other arts, stressing geometric shapes and quality hand-craftsmanship and moving away from the ornate naturalism of Art Nouveau. Hoffmann and Moser explained their jewelry design philosophy in the Wiener Werkstatte work program: "We use many semi precious stones. They make up in beauty of color and infinite variety what they lack in intrinsic value by comparison with diamonds. We love silver for its sheen and gold for its glitter" (Jane Kallir, Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstatte, 1986, p. 97). The brooch typifies the work Hoffmann was producing during the first phase of the Wiener Werkstatte which consisted of cabochon-cut semi-precious stones set compactly within a silver frame, sometimes accompanied by panels of hammered gold. Warndorfer's order for the brooch is recorded and survives in the Wiener Werkstatte archive in Modellband 5, p. 967, where the cost is listed as 300 kronen. Hoffmann's drawing, Werknummer 'G363OE, is currently housed in the Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna (K.I. 12.1446), and specifies the metals and stones that were to be used. The setting is silver with a gold inset in the center. However, the stones used in the final execution differ from those mentioned in the drawing. He substituted an opal for the aquamarine in the top center, and a speckled hardstone for brown opals in the side vertical panels. According to the Wiener Werkstatte archives, the lot offered here is the only brooch of this model that was ever executed, and it is currently offered by Fritz and Lilly Warndorfer's great-niece.
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