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Textile, Notschrei (Cry for Help)

This is a Textile. It was designed by Josef Hoffmann and produced by Johann Backhausen & Söhne. It is dated 1904 and we acquired it in 1985. Its medium is wool and its technique is plain weave with complementary wefts. It is a part of the Textiles department.

From 1903-1904, Josef Hoffmann designed a new building for the Purkersdorf sanatorium, which was established in 1890. At the turn of the twentieth century, there was a rising interest in psychotherapy and the treatment of individuals with mental illness. In Vienna, Sigmund Freud was one of the influential figures leading dialogues about psychiatric treatment. Cities were perceived as breeding grounds for nervous disorders, and patients were prescribed retreats into nature to escape the overstimulation and chaos of urban life. Purkersdorf, a private sanatorium, was a retreat for the urban elite to recuperate from the stresses of the city.
From the architectural plan to the furniture inside, Hoffmann focused on creating a soothing atmosphere. The textile Notschrei references its place of use only by its name, which translates to “cry for help.” The geometric and linear pattern accurately reflects Hoffmann’s style and speaks to his belief that one's environment could inspire change. He intentionally used geometric and linear elements throughout the building to create a calming atmosphere.

It is credited Museum purchase through General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 100.3 x 61.3 cm (39 1/2 x 24 1/8 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, Notschrei (Cry for Help); Designed by Josef Hoffmann (Austrian, b. Moravia, 1870–1956); Produced by Johann Backhausen & Söhne (Austria); Austria; wool; H x W: 100.3 x 61.3 cm (39 1/2 x 24 1/8 in.); Museum purchase through General Acquisitions Endowment Fund; 1985-52-2

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, Notschrei (Cry for Help) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=7 February 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>