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Object Timeline

-0001

1905

  • Work on this object began.

1925

  • Work on this object ended.

1978

  • We acquired this object.

2014

2015

2019

  • You found it!

Box (Austria), ca. 1915

This is a Box. It was produced by Wiener Werkstätte. It is dated ca. 1915 and we acquired it in 1978. Its medium is brass, silver. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Austrian designer and architect Josef Hoffmann was a major influence in the early twentieth-century modern movement and produced more work in metal than in any other media. As a cofounder of the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903, Hoffmann aimed to place decorative arts on the level of painting and sculpture in the public mind. Additionally, the Werkstätte, whose philosophies were based on the British Arts and Crafts movement, strove to produce high-quality, hand-crafted pieces for everyday use. Werkstätte members believed an object’s form and function should derive from materials used, have apparent construction techniques, lack historical associations—a radical break from the revival styles popular at the time—and give the worker joy in creating. This box showcases an additional aspect of Hoffmann’s design thinking: that design and craftsmanship, not materials, should determine an object’s value. Here, the more expensive metal, silver, is seen only on the inside while brass is visible on the exterior. The stylized leaf pattern and abstract geometric design in repousse—a technique where the craftsperson hammered in the design from the underside—are typical of his cubist influences.

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

8 x 11.4 x 17 cm (3 1/8 x 4 1/2 x 6 11/16 in. )

It has the following markings

On bottom: "HJ", "WIENERWERKSTATTE", "MADE IN AUSTRIA"

Cite this object as

Box (Austria), ca. 1915; Produced by Wiener Werkstätte (Austria); brass, silver; 8 x 11.4 x 17 cm (3 1/8 x 4 1/2 x 6 11/16 in. ); 1978-148-1-a,b

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18496549/ |title=Box (Austria), ca. 1915 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 July 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>