Sitzmaschine, Josef Hoffmann

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Sitzmaschine, Josef Hoffmann

Sitzmaschine, model #670, Designed by Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956), Manufactured by J.& J. Kohn, Austria, ca. 1905.

Bent beech wood, steel; height 39 1/2, width 26 1/2, depth 40 inches.

Photo courtesy of Wright.


Josef Hofmann is regarded as one of the foremost architects and designers of the twentieth century.  This chair, called the Sitzmaschine, or "machine for sitting," was designed for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium in Vienna, the first major architectural commission for Hoffmann's design firm the Wiener Werkstätte.


The Sitzmaschine features Hoffmann's design signatures including the use of bent wood, openwork square motifs, and ball supports.


For the first half of the twentieth century reclining chairs were used to treat patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, and this chair is regarded as the first modernist "cure chair."  In addition to its adjustable, reclining seat back, the chair's design promoted health and hygiene through its open construction, and removable upholstered cushions.


Hoffmann's Sitzmachine is believed to have been inspired by an adjustable chair designed in the 1860s by the English arts and crafts architect Philip Webb, which in turn was based upon a country chair with a simple wooden rail and notched arms.

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Porcelain Tray

Estimate: $150 - $300 (FMV)

Listed By: Stephanie Retz

Location: Providence, RI

Estimate By: Jorge Luis González

The thick potting, simple decoration, small size and deep shape of the tray would indicate late 18th or early 19th century continental manufacture.

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