Photograph of Secession Exhibition, Vienna, 1900

Photograph of Secession Exhibition, Vienna, 1900
© Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery

Fritz and Lili Waerndorfer

The Waerndorfer family provided an important link between Vienna and the United Kingdom. Fritz Waerndorfer was the son of a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer. In the late 1880s he was sent to England to study its textile industry, preferring instead to spend his time visiting London museums where he acquired a lasting passion for modern British architecture and design. After his return to Vienna, his passion came together with his business interest forging a friendship with Josef Hoffmann, whom he assisted with preparations for the Eighth Secession exhibition of 1900 devoted to the applied arts in Europe. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and other members of the ‘Glasgow Four’ featured prominently.

In 1902 Waerndorfer commissioned Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh to design the family’s music room, a highpoint of early twentieth century modernist design. A year later he sought Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s advice on the foundation of the Wiener Werkstätte, the architect encouraging his Viennese colleagues to create a ‘brand’ known for its ‘individuality, beauty and precision production’. He further suggested that every piece serve a ‘specific purpose and place’.

As co-founder of the Wiener Werkst¨tte, Waerndorfer furnished his house with its products. In 1907, he also commissioned Hoffmann to design, decorate and furnish a new Viennese night-spot, the Kabarett Fledermaus. Waerndorfer’s enduring penchant for novelty is evident in Hoffmann’s realisation of the commission. Among Gustav Klimt’s most prominent collectors, Waerndorfer acquired key Klimt paintings including Calm Pond in the Park of Schloss Kammer 1899, the artist’s first landscape in a square format.

Works on display

  • Josef Hoffmann Basket 1905
  • Josef Hoffmann Belt Buckle 1909
  • Josef Hoffmann Belt Buckle 1910
  • Josef Hoffmann Bookcase for the Reading Room of the Sanatorium Purkersdorf 1904–5
  • Brochure for the Opening of the ‘Kabarett Fledermaus’, Vienna 1907
  • Gustav Klimt Calm Pond in the Park of Schloss Kammer 1899
  • Josef Hoffmann Chair for the Theatre Cabaret ‘Fledermaus’ c.1907
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh Design for a Gesso Panel, for Fritz Waendorfer’s Music Room 1899
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh Design for a Writing Cabinet 1902
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh Drawing for Jewellery Ornaments for the Gesso Frieze ‘The Return of Prince Marcellus’ c.1906
  • Josef Hoffmann First programme for the ‘Kabarett Fledermaus’ 1907
  • Josef Hoffmann Fruit Basket circa 1904
  • Letter from Fritz Waerndorfer to Josef Hoffmann, 23 December 1902 1902
  • Model of the Kabarett Fledermaus 1907/2003
  • Model of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium 1904/1985
  • New Year Greetings Card, from Lili Waerndorfer, Vienna, to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, Glasgow circa 1901
  • Koloman Moser Photo Album for Lili Waerndorfer 1906
  • Frances MacDonald MacNair Photograph of an Embroidered Panel 1900–10
  • Photograph of Secession Exhibition, Vienna 1900
  • Postcard with a view of Purkersdorf Sanatorium c.1905
  • Josef Hoffmann Pot with Lid 1906
  • Josef Hoffmann Selection from 106-piece Cutlery Set for 12 people with the Monogram of Lili und Fritz Waerndorfer
  • Josef Hoffmann Sketch for Purkersdorf Sanatorium 1903–4
  • Carl Czeschka Small Box 1906
  • Josef Hoffmann Table Centrepiece 1905
  • >Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh ‘The Opera of the Sea’, Photograph of a Gesso Panel 1900–2
  • >Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh ‘The Opera of the Winds’: Photograph of a Gesso Panel 1903
  • Josef Hoffmann Toilet Paper Holder for the Residence of Fritz Waerndorfer c.1902
  • Josef Hoffmann Typewritten translation of a letter, from Josef Hoffman, Vienna, to William Davidson, Glasgow, dated 15th May 1933 Re: Memorial Exhibition; testimony of importance of Mackintosh to Viennese artists 1933
  • Wiener Werkstätte Postcard Nr. 67 (The Theatre of the ‘Cabaret Fledermaus’) 1907
  • Wiener Werkstätte Postcard Nr. 74 (Bar and Wardrobe Areas, ‘Cabaret Fledermaus’) 1907
  • Wiener Werkstätte Postcard Nr. 75 (Bar Area, ‘Cabaret Fledermaus’) 1907
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh Design for a Smoker’s Cabinet 1899