Emilie Flöge in an art noveau dress Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool

Left: Emilie Flöge in an art noveau dress with muffs in the fashion Salon Sisters Flöge. She is leaning on a chair constructed by Kolo Moser. Right: Emilie Flöge in an Art Nouveau Style Dress c. 1910
© IMAGNO / Collection Christian Brandstätter, Vienna

Gustav Klimt installation view at Tate Liverpool 2008

Gustav Klimt installation view at Tate Liverpool, 2008
© Tate

The Wiener Werkstätte

Inspired by the British Arts and Crafts Movement, Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and the industrialist Fritz Waerndorfer founded the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshop) in 1903. Their aim was to ennoble everyday life through the integration of art and design. The members of the Wiener Werkstätte produced a wide range of design objects – architecture, furniture, everyday items and even fashion and jewellery– that aspired to the ideals of the Gesamtkunstwerk.

Only the ‘best materials’ were to be used, regardless of financial implications. In the Wiener Werkstätte’s mission statement of 1905, Hoffmann asserted: ‘As long as our towns, our houses, our rooms, our furniture, our utensils, our clothes and our jewellery, our language and our feelings do not reflect – elegantly, simply and beautifully – the spirit of our own time, we are living at a level far beneath that of our forefathers and no equivocation can disguise these weaknesses.’

The Wiener Werkstätte produced individual items and worked on major collaborative projects. In 1904 the industrialist Viktor Zuckerkandl contracted Hoffmann to design the Sanatorium Purkersdorf near Vienna. The sanatorium was the first building with an interior designed exclusively by the Wiener Werkstätte. Another prime example is the Palais Stoclet in Brussels for which Gustav Klimt realised a mosaic frieze.

The reorganisation of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1913–14, after the bankruptcy of Waerndorfer, heralded a new era in terms of activity and output. Surviving, even expanding during the Great War, from 1919–20 it met with repeated disapproval for its perceived failure to adapt to the greatly changed conditions of post-imperial Austria, finally closing in 1932.

Works on display

  • Josef Hoffmann Adjustable Armchair c.1908
  • Joseph Olbrich Armchair 1898–9
  • Josef Hoffmann Cabinet for the Flöge sisters’ fashion house 1904
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for a Table 1908–10
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Desk with Armchair 1905–8
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for the ‘Atila’ and ‘Tegethof’ Chairs 1905–8
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for the ‘Radetzky’ Chair 1905–8
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for the ‘Terrassen’ Chair 1908–10
  • Koloman Moser Desk and Integrated Armchair for Eisler von Terramare 1903
  • Koloman Moser Draft design for a Diadem 1902
  • Friedrich Walker Emilie Flöge in a Chinese Dress c.1910
  • Friedrich Walker Emilie Flöge in an Art Nouveau Style Dress c.1910
  • Madame d’Ora Emilie Flöge wearing an Art Nouveau Dress in the Fashion Salon of the Flöge Sisters, Autumn 1910 1910
  • Madame d’Ora Emilie Flöge wearing an Art Nouveau Dress with Muff in the Fashion Salon of the Flöge Sisters c. 1910
  • Josef Hoffmann Flower Table circa 1905
  • Model of the Palais Stoclet 1905–11/1984
  • Josef Hoffmann Plan for the Palais Stoclet
  • Josef Hoffmann Sketch for the Small Country House for Kunstschau 1908
  • Josef Hoffmann Smoking Table 1910
  • Gustav Klimt Stoclet Frieze, First Wall 1905–11
  • Black Costume from the Salon of the Flöge Sisters c.1914
  • Josef Hoffmann Design for Bent Wood Chair 1903–5
  • Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, volume XIX, October 1906 – March 1907 1906–7
  • Moritz Nähr Emilie Flöge and Gustav Klimt c.1905
  • Josef Hoffmann Piggy bank for the Palais Stoclet 1904