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Movements, Styles, and Tendencies The Wiener Werkstätte

The Wiener Werkstätte

The Wiener Werkstätte Collage

Started: 1903

Ended: 1932

"The limitless harm done in the arts and crafts field by low quality mass production on the one hand and by the unthinking imitation of old styles on the other is affecting the whole world like some gigantic flood...It would be madness to swim against this tide. Nevertheless we have founded our workshop. Where appropriate we shall try to be decorative without compulsion and not at any price."

Synopsis

The Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshops) was one of the longest-lived design movements of the twentieth century and a key organization for the development of modernism. Centered in the Austrian capital, it stood at the doorway between traditional methods of manufacture and a distinctly avant-garde aesthetic. The Wiener Werkstätte's emphasis on complete artistic freedom resulted in a prodigious output of designs, and this, along with an army of skilled craftsmen and a complex network of production and distribution made it the standard for Austrian design between the dawn of the twentieth century and the depths of the Great Depression. Led by the unassuming architect Josef Hoffmann and his associates such as Dagobert Peche and Koloman Moser, the Wiener Werkstätte drew from movements such as the Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau as well as from traditional folk art, and forecasted the flowering of Art Deco and the International Style in the interwar period. Its demise in the midst of repeated financial crises demonstrates the ultimate inability of artistic enterprises to completely free themselves from the economic concerns of the age.

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