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Josef Hoffmann was without any doubt one of the most influential artistic figures of the 20th century. His multifaceted talent was astounding, as he was a brilliant designer, virtuoso of ornamentation, captivating educator, and successful entrepreneur all in one. Whether he was designing buildings, interiors, unique, handcrafted ornamental pieces, or everyday items for mass production, he treated every task as a work of art. He created a new aesthetic quality through his approach that spurned historical styles, placed function in the forefront, and combined delicate ornamentation with formal clarity, paving the way for modern efforts to reform material culture. The works of inimitable taste and sophistication he produced during his creative career, which spanned more than 60 years, are today considered the zenith of modern architecture and the applied arts.

One of the two homes designed for Budapest by the world-famous Austrian artist, the so-called Pikler Villa, was a genuine work of total art. Its entire architectural and interior design and even the composition of the garden came from the ideas of Josef Hoffmann and it was completed with the collaboration of the applied arts company he founded, the Wiener Werkstätte.

While the exterior appearance of this villa completed in 1909 on Trombitás Road for the renowned law professor Gyula Pikler was rather understated and essentially puritan, its interior spaces were surprisingly diverse. The living spaces designed down to the smallest detail and with the greatest care were characterized by a cavalcade of decorative wall paintings, wallpapers, upholstery, colorfully painted furniture, and special lighting fixtures.

This temporary exhibition at the György Ráth Villa, the home of the internationally renowned Art Nouveau collection of the Museum of Applied Arts, evokes the atmosphere of this exceptional Hungarian monument, which was designed and built in the style of turn-of-the-century Vienna, through the use of photos and furnishings on loan from the archives of the Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK) and Hungarian private collections.

Éva Horányi, curator


 Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA). The participation of the Hungarian partner has been co-financed by the Hungarian State.


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