Josef Hoffman produced and designed artworks during the Art Nouveau period and in the Art Deco style, as well as most other decorative art styles.
Josef Hoffmann studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Austria, under Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner whose theories of functional modern architecture profoundly influenced Hoffman’s work.
In 1903 Hoffmann co-founded the Wiener Werkstatte and his stewardship of the well respected design workshop lasted until 1931.
While Hoffmann studied under Otto Wagner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna he was also a founding member of the Vienna Secession in 1897.
His influence on the Wiener Werkstatte was all pervasive.
He designed its most celebrated architectural achievements, the Purkersdorf Sanatorium (1902-3) and the Palais Stoclet in Brussels (1909-1911), as well as designing for all branches of decorative arts, not just Art Nouveau.
The strict grid pattern which formed the basis of many of his designs, as well as being a favoured decorative motif, earned him the nickname ‘Quadrutl H Hoffmann’ (Little Square Hoffmann).
His work for the Wiener Werkstatte was a pivotal element in the development of a European tradition of decorative modern design, to which the Parisian Art Deco of the 1920s provided a continuation.
In 1896, he joined Otto Wagners office.
In 1898, he established his own practice in Vienna.
In 1897, inspired by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School, he was one of the founding members together with Gustav Klimt, of an association of revolutionary artists and architects called the Vienna Secession.
In 1903, he founded, alongwith architects Koloman Moser and Joseph Maria Olbrich, the Wiener Werkstette for decorative arts.
In 1905, Hoffmann, Klimt and the Wiener Werkstette artists, designed the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, the Capital of Art Nouveau and home city of the great Art Nouveau artist Victor Horta.
Josef Hoffman was an important precursor of the Modern Movement and the Art Deco style.