Adolf Loos (designer)
Austria 1870–1933

Adolf Loos (1870–1933) was one of those rare artists whose ability in his creative fields of architecture, and furniture and interior design was matched by his facility with the pen.1 Selected writings by Adolf Loos on architecture and design are available in English in paperback: Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays, Ariadne, Riverside, California, 1998; On Architecture, Ariadne, Riverside, California, 2002. During the course of his design career, from the 1890s to the early 1930s, he wrote prolifically on architecture and on many aspects of design in a journalistic style that was engaging, witty and frequently devastating for his opponents. Not limiting himself to the criticism and analysis of the things he designed himself – buildings and furniture – he lectured and published on a range of topics. These ranged from clothing – shoes, underwear, hats, even haircuts – to carriages and plumbing, and, in a unique foray into music criticism, on a performance by Nellie Melba in New York.2Loos, ‘Mein auftreten mit der Melba’, 1900, in Adolf Loos, Ins Leere Gesprochen 1897–1900, Verlag Der Sturm, Berlin, 1921, pp. 154–8. His most memorable essay title was ‘Ornament und Verbrechen’ (‘Ornament and crime’), 1908, in which he elaborates on his theory that ‘the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornamentation from objects of everyday use.3Loos, ‘Ornament and crime’, 1908, in Ornament and Crime, p. 167. It is his writings on furniture, furnishings and interiors and how they relate to the furniture now in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria that concern us here.

Early days

Loos was born in Brünn (now Brno in the Czech Republic), the son of a stonemason and sculptor. Although he came from a background of construction, building and decoration, any practical paternal influence in these areas was limited since his father died in 1879, before Adolf turned nine. After schooling he received training as a mason and, wishing to become an architect, moved to Dresden to study in 1889. He commenced studies there at the Technische Hochschule, before undertaking military service and moving to Vienna in 1891. Returning to Dresden to continue his architectural studies in 1892–93, he then headed to the United States in 1893 to visit the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In crossing the Atlantic, Loos was one of the first European architects to travel to North America for enrichment and cultural education instead of taking the traditional path southwards to Italy for the first-hand study of the Classical past, of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque architecture. (He also had a personal reason to visit the United States: his paternal uncle had married an American and lived in Philadelphia.) Loos lived and worked in the United States for three years. He turned his hand to all kinds of jobs, including journalism, building and construction. Intensely inquisitive and open to new experiences, he absorbed the very different way of living he experienced in 1890s America. His American sojourn had a profound impact on him and his subsequent work, and helped develop his thinking upon the manner in which different countries develop their approaches to design and architecture in response to their needs.

Influences from abroad

This extended stay in the United States was followed by several months in London before his eventual return to Vienna in 1896. While living and working abroad, Loos was captivated by the American and Anglo-Saxon lifestyle and the manner in which it manifested itself in domestic architecture and interiors. He admired the apparent informality of domestic living spaces and the way in which their owners adapted them for use, rather than the living spaces imposing themselves upon their occupants. (For instance, with characteristic hyperbole he claimed that the English and Americans had created more chairs than all the other nations combined, since they made them to suit the specific use of the user, whose needs were many and various.)4Loos, ‘Chairs’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, p. 65. In the first few years after his return to Vienna, much of Loos’s work was in the sphere of cultural journalism. This is what he was initially known for rather than his architecture.

From the outset of his career, Loos was concerned with how things worked and the importance of having a sound knowledge of materials. He stated, as early as 1897, that, in order to know about designing chairs, it was more important to know something about sitting rather than everything about the orders of Greek columns, then a major aspect of design teaching.5Loos, ‘Our school of applied art’, 1897, in Ornament and Crime, p. 16. Loos championed the appropriate and correct use of materials and the concept of truth to materials:

Each material has its own formal language, and no material can take the form of another material for which it is not suited … No material permits an infringement in its formation. Who dares this, he denounces the world as false. Art, however, has nothing to do with falsity and lies.6Loos, quoted in Eva B. Ottillinger, Adolf Loos: Wohnkonzepte und Möbelentwürfe, Residenz, Salzburg and Vienna, 1994, p. 13.

Vienna, cultural melting pot

Vienna of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as the centre of a great, wealthy (and declining) empire, witnessed a remarkable flowering of creativity in all the arts, with much interconnectedness between them. In art and design alone, Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Maria Olbrich, Egon Schiele, Otto Wagner, as well as Loos and many others, were all achieving creative heights during the 1890s and 1900s. The cultural endeavours in architecture and design, literature, music, theatre and art were international in their outlook, while retaining a strong and peculiarly Viennese flavour, which was frequently both conservative and progressive: Loos’s ideas and work embody both. In addition the focus on the self, most significantly and influentially explored and analysed by Freud, is evident in music and literature, architecture and interior design, the latter forming to some extent a curious and visible extension of the individual. As if summing up desirable qualities in people and relating them to the domestic architecture they inhabit, Loos wrote in 1914 that ‘the house must be discrete from the outside, it reveals its entire richness in the interior’.7Loos, ‘Heimatkunst’, 1914, in Adolf Loos, Trotzdem 1900–1930, Brenner-Verlag, Innsbruck, 1931, p. 142.

Vienna at this epoch was ideally placed to become a centre of progressive design. It had fine architecture and design teachers who in turn produced outstanding architects and designers, supported by wealthy clients. As an imperial capital it lured the best and brightest to work there. The city itself had undergone major architectural changes during the second half of the nineteenth century as the grand historical-revival public buildings emerged along the elegant Ringstraße, a boulevard created along the former city walls. These civic buildings, including the parliament, opera house, theatres and museums, presented a grand facade for the splendour of the final decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The emphasis on public buildings during this period meant that architects and designers of the next generation could not so readily find work on big public projects. They needed to find clients in the private sector, who, as it happens, were often more receptive to progressive ideas than were government officials.

The Langer suite, designed to last

Among the many private individuals in Vienna who turned to an architect to design their apartment was the couple Jakob and Melanie Langer. The Langers married in December 1902,8Jakob Langer (9 April 1866 – 12 July 1932) and Melanie Gallia (11 June 1882 – 16 January 1937) were married in Vienna on 9 December 1902. I am indebted to Sue Course, their granddaughter, for supplying this and other information on the Langer family. and the NGV possesses a splendid group of furniture designed by Loos in 1903 for their Viennese residence.9Brought to Melbourne from Vienna by Jakob and Melanie Langer’s daughter, Liesl, after the Second World War and acquired by the NGV in 1994 and 1995. This was an early commission in the architect’s career. He had only been in practice for a few years, with one public and a few private commissions to his name. However, he was not unknown to the Langers: Loos had previously designed an apartment for Jakob Langer’s brother, Dr Leopold Langer, a banker, at Opernring 13 in 1901.10Illustrated in: Burkhard Rukschcio & Roland Schachel, Adolf Loos: Leben und Werk, Residenz, Salzburg and Vienna, 1982, p. 432; Benedetto Gravagnuolo, Adolf Loos: Theory and Works, Rizzoli, New York, 1982, p. 101; and Ottillinger, p. 144. Following this commission Loos designed numerous interiors, and some buildings, in Viennese Jewish business and financial circles.11Among the Langer relations, Loos designed apartments and buildings for: Arthur and Leonie Friedmann (Rukshcio & Schachel, pp. 443–6, no. 51; p. 454, no. 61; p. 460, no. 65); R. Fischl (Rukshcio & Schachel, p. 460, no. 64); Paul Khuner (Rukshcio & Schachel, p. 452, no. 57; pp. 617–23, nos 198, 199). Interestingly, Jakob and Melanie Langer’s son, Peter, married Herthe Kary, whose mother’s family and relations were also patrons of Loos. The 1903 apartment for Jakob and Melanie Langer was created in a building designed by Otto Wagner in 1883–84, at Lobkowitzplatz 1.12Rukshcio & Schachel, pp. 83, 187. Unfortunately, unlike Leopold Langer’s apartment, the interiors of Jakob and Melanie Langer’s apartment were not photographed, so it is not possible to obtain a clear impression of the disposition of the furnishings.13Apart from Loos’s contribution to the apartment, two paintings that hung in it, being added a decade later, were landscapes by Max Kahrer (1878–1937); Farmhouse with poplars, Langenpreising, Bavaria, 1914, and Ammersee in winter, 1914, both now in the collection of the NGV. Nevertheless, in the early years of Loos’s career, when he essentially established his style for domestic interiors – a refined modernism, furnished with Loos’s own designs, supplemented with carefully selected historical reproductions – the Langer brothers were his most important private clients. Loos’s own designs were not driven by fashion: when he came up with a good solution, he stuck to it. Indeed, some of the furniture he designed for the Jakob Langers in 1903 – including a room divider and desk – he supplied in similar versions for another client, Gustav Turnovsky, around 1912.14For the Herrenzimmer (smoking room). Illustrated in Ottillinger, pp. 55, 59.

The Langer suite comprises a sideboard, fitted into panelling that includes a long-case clock; a room divider; dining and drawing-room chairs; a desk and chair; a wardrobe and bedroom chairs and cupboards (figs 1-8). Most of this furniture, with the exception of the chairs, was designed by Loos himself specifically for the apartment. The chairs, designed by others, were supplied or recommended by Loos to his clients. The built-in furniture designed by Loos for the dining room best illustrates his restrained and clearly articulated aesthetic, and his interest in providing sturdy, robust furniture designed to last. The two-metre-high mahogany wall panelling is constructed from a square grid design that, in this early example of fitted furniture, offers the convenience of incorporating both a long-case clock and a sideboard into the architecture of the room. The clock case is merely an extension of the panelling pushed out from the wall and repeats the grid motif already established in the panelling. Clear glass replaces two of the timber panels on the clock case, to make the clock face visible, and for the interest of watching the pendulum swing back and forth. (Loos’s fascination with clocks, and displaying their mechanism, is even more apparent in his audacious glass and metal clocks.)15The NGV has one of these in the collection from 1906–07 (D19.a-c-1987). The panelling design on the sideboard is more complex than the clock case, with five equal sections of the wall panelling above it giving to three equal sections on the sideboard below. These are evenly divided between the two flanking cupboards and central drawers below the shelf and the three mirrors above it: all elements in the sideboard are rectangular rather than square. This forms a clear example of where Loos has deliberately disrupted the rhythm of the panelling, for both practical and aesthetic reasons, in order to incorporate the sideboard into the scheme. Rather than forcing all components to fit the same grid, a device used by his contemporary Josef Hoffmann, Loos opted for a freer and more relaxed use of the components.

The door handles and keyholes on the sideboard have square back plates, which repeat the grid of the panelling in reduced scale. The drawer handles are curved and thus designed to fit the hand comfortably, while the concave frame of the key hole directs the key where it is intended, discouraging it from skating over the surface of the timber and scratching it. The screws fixing the drawer handles and key plates are visible, so that no aspect of the construction is concealed. These fittings are brass, as are the elongated fitted candlesticks on the sideboard, all providing an attractive and glowing contrast to the mahogany.

Chippendale and other influences

Amid this very architectural framework for the room, Loos included dining chairs with carved wooden backs that were Viennese copies of a late-nineteenth-century English chair in the style of Thomas Chippendale, the great eighteenth-century English cabinetmaker (fig. 3); and Rococo-revival chairs covered in embossed leather (fig. 4). He had used modern copies of early eighteenth-century chairs for the dining furniture of the Leopold Langer apartment of 1901,16See note 10. and indeed had used a similar formula in his earliest domestic interiors from 1899.17Rukschcio & Schachel, p. 420, no. 7.

That Loos was prepared to tolerate furniture designed by others in his interiors is fundamental in his concept of his interior design. He was adamant that there was no reason why a perfectly successful historical design should not be copied for modern use and included in modern interiors.18Ottillinger, p. 13. (‘Dear friends, I want to let you in on a secret: there is no modern furniture!’ is the provocative beginning to a 1924 essay by Loos entitled ‘The abolition of furniture’.)19Loos, ‘Die Abschaffung der Möbel’, 1924, in Trotzdem, p. 196. This demonstrates the contrast in his work with that of one of his key targets in his writings: Josef Hoffmann, whose design work he detested, considering it contrived and artificial. Unlike Loos, who was opposed to the concept of the fully designed interior, when Hoffmann had his way, he preferred to supply the complete interior fully furnished from his Wiener Werkstätte. (Hoffmann’s Viennese Gallia apartment of 1913, many of the furnishings from which are now in the NGV, was a superb example of this.)20See Terence Lane, Vienna 1913: Josef Hoffmann’s Gallia Apartment, NGV, Melbourne, 1984. Certainly, in contrast to Loos’s approach, fully integrated interiors created by professional designers were increasingly popular among the wealthy during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Britain, for example, similar approaches to interiors were adopted and promoted by two of its leading progressive designers of the era, William Morris and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. By Loos’s own admission, he found buildings that were totally designed by the one hand boring, however impressive the concept or execution.21Loos, ‘The interiors of the rotunda’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, p. 62.

Adapting to the market

Loos questioned this, asking in 1898 why the poor public wasn’t allowed to make up its own mind when furnishing a house.22Loos, ‘Interior design: Prelude’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, pp. 51–5. What was the need for things to match and to come from the same source, or to be put together by the same professional eye? He saw clearly that the market can and will determine what is produced and that the client should chose furnishings, not the professional designer or architect. Loos particularly despised extremely stylish rooms:

Such rooms tyrannise the poor owner, if he has dared to purchase something for himself … One buys furniture from the cabinetmaker, carpets from the carpet dealer, light fittings from the bronze foundry and so on: They don’t go together? Perhaps no. But do not worry about these considerations …’23Loos, quoted in Ottillinger, p. 25.

He considered that rather than being fixed as a work of art, living rooms needed to be adaptable.

The contrast between the concept of the interior as a work of art and the interior as a comfortable place to inhabit is amply demonstrated in the opposing ideas and approaches of Hoffmann and Loos. Hoffmann exemplified the Gesamtkunstwerk approach to design, in which every detail in a room, down to the glassware and cutlery, was conceived by the designer as a harmonious whole. Loosian interiors, on the other hand, permitted random placing of furniture, allowing for both the individuality of the owner and the changing uses to which rooms are subject. He had formulated these ideas quite early; in 1898, writing in praise of an interior by Otto Wagner, Loos felt the need to qualify that it was good, despite its having been designed by an architect.24Loos, ‘Das Sitzmöbel’, 1898, in Ins Leere Gesprochen, p. 60.

Mixing it up

Loos’s use of adaptations or versions of historical furniture designs in otherwise modern interiors followed a well established nineteenth-century precedent.25To take one example, in London in the early 1860s Morris & Co. released the first of the Sussex chairs, cheap, lightweight, elegant chairs based on an early-nineteenth-century prototype. In any case, the prevailing interior decorating style of the mid to late nineteenth century was one of historical revivals. The interest in using historical furniture to form part of an interior increased in popularity throughout the nineteenth century, and the fashion of mixing antique and modern furnishings has been retained as a popular decorating style to the present day. Loos, however, tended to use, or recommend to his clients, reproductions rather than genuine antiques. His absorption of English interior design styles led him to use chairs based on historical styles of Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite of the mid eighteenth century, and Windsor chairs.26The NGV also has two ‘Windsor’ chairs designed by Loos from the Langer apartment (D13-1994). By specifically selecting chairs copied from Chippendale and Hepplewhite, Loos was not only admiring the taste and originality of their designs, but also alluding to the high standard of craftsmanship of eighteenth-century English cabinetmakers. He also used chair designs borrowed, or directly copied, from late-nineteenth-century English chair designs, including the three-legged Thebes stool popularised by Liberty & Co., and a desk chair by Collinson & Lock, both of which he supplied to the Langers. However, he also drew on Austro-German traditions, including Viennese Biedermeier and Rococo. As would be expected, Loos also favoured exotic and even elaborate sources for his other furniture, notably in his ‘Elephant trunk’ table of c.1900, in which the six or eight legs of the circular table follow the curve of an elephant’s trunk. Again, this was a model developed by Loos from English furniture.

The other furniture Loos designed for the Langers’ apartment – room divider, wardrobe, folding mirror, desk and cupboards – echoes the plainness of the dining room, relying for its effect upon the attractiveness of the timber, restrained detailing and balanced proportions. He used flat surfaces, with the plains of timber broken and enlivened by reeding or panelling. Brass fittings for handles and key escutcheons are similarly plain, often substantial, with minimal ornament. These provide decorative highlights through their gleaming surfaces. Their understatement, in which truth to materials and durability and functionality are emphasised, forms a startling contrast to much contemporaneous Viennese design, including that of Hoffmann, in which stylishness was the norm, and surfaces were concealed under stain and paint, often highlighted with gilding. This also underscores Loos’s approach. He was designing for the affluent middle classes, not for aristocrats.

That Loos should chose to have dining chairs made that were based on the style of Thomas Chippendale – the English cabinetmaker most associated with the most frivolous of decorative styles, the Rococo – appears at first a strange contradiction. But Loos was unequivocal in this acclaim of Chippendale’s chairs:

The dining chair of the time of Thomas Chippendale was perfect. It was the solution. It could not be improved upon … The Chippendale chair is so perfect, that it is suitable for any room produced after Chippendale, even for a room of today.27Loos, ‘Josef Veillich’, 1929, in Trotzdem, p. 252.

‘English’ chairs in Austria

He reminds us, not altogether accurately, that Chippendale’s designs, unlike his continental contemporaries, were not pitched at the aristocracy and their palaces but at the merely well-to-do. Chippendale’s influential publication entitled The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 1754, also included ‘household furniture’ in the subtitle. Not that Loos’s use of copies of English furniture was his own invention: this he credits to Arthur von Scala, the director of the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie (Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, now Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst or MAK), who promoted English historical design in Vienna.28Loos, ‘Interior design: Prelude’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, pp. 53–4. Indeed, the Viennese ‘Chippendale’ chairs supplied by Loos to the Langers were clearly copied from an English ‘Chippendale’ armchair now in the collection of the MAK (fig. 9). The carved design on the chair backs is identical, as are the arms and legs. In 1903 the English ‘Chippendale’ chair was in the collection of the Vienna Handelsmuseum (Museum of Trade) and on loan to the Museum of Art and Industry, where it was almost certainly on display when Loos wrote about the English furniture there in 1897. (Furniture in the collection of the Handelsmuseum was lent to Viennese cabinetmakers for the purpose of making copies.) This armchair was part of a group of thirteen English chairs acquired for the Handelsmuseum from the London cabinetmaker J. S. Henry in 1897.29The London cabinetmaking firm J. S. Henry was founded by John Sollie Henry probably in 1880. It traded at various addresses – Golden Lane, Old Street, Bread Street and New Burlington Street, where it was still operating in 1911. The Cabinet Maker & Art Furnisher (1 April 1887, p. 277) mentions that the business was ‘strictly wholesale’, stocking fashionable styles, including ‘many graceful examples of the late 18th century inlaid goods’, and that there was a warehouse and showrooms in Glasgow. The 2 March 1891 issue (pp. 244–5) mentions the firm’s Chippendale furniture. I am indebted to Frances Collard, Curator, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for supplying this information. They were lent to the Museum of Art and Industry that year but not formally acquired until 1909 as part of a much larger group of 175 items from the Handelsmuseum.30I am indebted to Dr Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator of Furniture and Woodwork, MAK, Vienna, for kindly supplying this information and identifying the English ‘Chippendale’ armchair in the MAK (H1340) as the source for the Langers’ chairs.

The ‘Chippendale’ chairs and the stamped-leather covered chairs Loos supplied to the Langers came from Friedrich Otto Schmidt, a major Vienna interior decorator.31Established by Carl Friedrich Schmidt (1824–1894) in 1853 as Tapeten-Niederlage ‘F. Schmidt & Sugg’ and claiming to have the ‘largest choice of the newest, most elegant and tasteful wallpapers and decoration from the finest French and German factories’. Schmidt’s sons continued the firm and, trading as Friedrich Otto Schmidt, it became one of the most successful interior design firms of the era in Vienna (Ottillinger, p. 71). F. O. Schmidt was also closely involved with the reform of the applied arts that were being promoted by the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry. The firm exhibited interiors at the museum in 1871 and at the 1873 Vienna World Fair, where they were praised by Jakob von Falke.32Ottillinger, p. 72. Not that F. O. Schmidt’s interiors espoused modernism: like any mainstream decorator of the period, the firm worked primarily in a variety of historical styles, including the popular Rococo and Louis XVI styles. Loos’s connection with F. O. Schmidt developed so that by 1901 when the firm exhibited a modern bedroom at the Museum’s winter exhibition, it was described as ‘à la Loos’. A reviewer, commenting on the comfort and practicality of this interior, neatly summed up Loos’s approach to design: ‘Why should the door of the electric tramcar have a more practical grip than the door of a study’.33Quoted in Ottillinger, p. 77. F. O. Schmidt did not restrict their copies of English furniture to the eighteenth century, and the ‘English’ desk chair (fig. 6) supplied to the Langers, and now in the NGV, was copied from a Collison & Lock chair from the 1880s.34Ottillinger, p. 40, no. 27, illustrates another example of this chair. She also illustrates an example from the F. O. Schmidt catalogue, comparing it with an image of an original Collison & Lock version (Ottillinger, p. 133, nos 172, 173). All four chairs appear identical.

Humane spaces for living

Loos was one of the great architects of European modernism. Like most of the great innovators, he was well schooled in the history of his discipline. He was not, however, one who insisted that all must be created afresh: rather, if an historical precedent worked for him, he would use it. He created new designs when necessary, notably in buildings and larger furniture, but he was also happy to base his own designs upon successful precedents, and even to use reproductions of designs by others in his interiors. His writings on interiors and design give clear expression to his intentions and thinking. It is this very humane approach to living and living spaces, as well as his use of the comforting and lasting materials of polished wood, leather, brass and marble, and his underlying respect for tradition, that make him one of the most appealing and enduring modernists.

Christopher Menz, Acting Director, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne (in 2011).

Notes
1 Selected writings by Adolf Loos on architecture and design are available in English in paperback: Ornament and Crime: Selected Essays, Ariadne, Riverside, California, 1998; On Architecture, Ariadne, Riverside, California, 2002.

2 Loos, ‘Mein auftreten mit der Melba’, 1900, in Adolf Loos, Ins Leere Gesprochen 1897–1900, Verlag Der Sturm, Berlin, 1921, pp. 154–8.

3 Loos, ‘Ornament and crime’, 1908, in Ornament and Crime, p. 167.

4 Loos, ‘Chairs’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, p. 65.

5 Loos, ‘Our school of applied art’, 1897, in Ornament and Crime, p. 16.

6 Loos, quoted in Eva B. Ottillinger, Adolf Loos: Wohnkonzepte und Möbelentwürfe, Residenz, Salzburg and Vienna, 1994, p. 13.

7 Loos, ‘Heimatkunst’, 1914, in Adolf Loos, Trotzdem 1900–1930, Brenner-Verlag, Innsbruck, 1931, p. 142.

8 Jakob Langer (9 April 1866 – 12 July 1932) and Melanie Gallia (11 June 1882 – 16 January 1937) were married in Vienna on 9 December 1902. I am indebted to Sue Course, their granddaughter, for supplying this and other information on the Langer family.

9 Brought to Melbourne from Vienna by Jakob and Melanie Langer’s daughter, Liesl, after the Second World War and acquired by the NGV in 1994 and 1995.

10 Illustrated in: Burkhard Rukschcio & Roland Schachel, Adolf Loos: Leben und Werk, Residenz, Salzburg and Vienna, 1982, p. 432; Benedetto Gravagnuolo, Adolf Loos: Theory and Works, Rizzoli, New York, 1982, p. 101; and Ottillinger, p. 144.

11 Among the Langer relations, Loos designed apartments and buildings for: Arthur and Leonie Friedmann (Rukshcio & Schachel, pp. 443–6, no. 51; p. 454, no. 61; p. 460, no. 65); R. Fischl (Rukshcio & Schachel, p. 460, no. 64); Paul Khuner (Rukshcio & Schachel, p. 452, no. 57; pp. 617–23, nos 198, 199). Interestingly, Jakob and Melanie Langer’s son, Peter, married Herthe Kary, whose mother’s family and relations were also patrons of Loos.

12 Rukshcio & Schachel, pp. 83, 187.

13 Apart from Loos’s contribution to the apartment, two paintings that hung in it, being added a decade later, were landscapes by Max Kahrer (1878–1937); Farmhouse with poplars, Langenpreising, Bavaria, 1914, and Ammersee in winter, 1914, both now in the collection of the NGV.

14 For the Herrenzimmer (smoking room). Illustrated in Ottillinger, pp. 55, 59.

15 The NGV has one of these in the collection from 1906–07 (D19.a-c-1987).

16 See note 10.

17 Rukschcio & Schachel, p. 420, no. 7.

18 Ottillinger, p. 13.

19 Loos, ‘Die Abschaffung der Möbel’, 1924, in Trotzdem, p. 196.

20 See Terence Lane, Vienna 1913: Josef Hoffmann’s Gallia Apartment, NGV, Melbourne, 1984.

21 Loos, ‘The interiors of the rotunda’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, p. 62.

22 Loos, ‘Interior design: Prelude’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, pp. 51–5.

23 Loos, quoted in Ottillinger, p. 25.

24 Loos, ‘Das Sitzmöbel’, 1898, in Ins Leere Gesprochen, p. 60.

25 To take one example, in London in the early 1860s Morris & Co. released the first of the Sussex chairs, cheap, lightweight, elegant chairs based on an early-nineteenth-century prototype.

26 The NGV also has two ‘Windsor’ chairs designed by Loos from the Langer apartment (D13-1994).

27 Loos, ‘Josef Veillich’, 1929, in Trotzdem, p. 252.

28 Loos, ‘Interior design: Prelude’, 1898, in Ornament and Crime, pp. 53–4.

29 The London cabinetmaking firm J. S. Henry was founded by John Sollie Henry probably in 1880. It traded at various addresses – Golden Lane, Old Street, Bread Street and New Burlington Street, where it was still operating in 1911. The Cabinet Maker & Art Furnisher (1 April 1887, p. 277) mentions that the business was ‘strictly wholesale’, stocking fashionable styles, including ‘many graceful examples of the late 18th century inlaid goods’, and that there was a warehouse and showrooms in Glasgow. The 2 March 1891 issue (pp. 244–5) mentions the firm’s Chippendale furniture. I am indebted to Frances Collard, Curator, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, for supplying this information.

30 I am indebted to Dr Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator of Furniture and Woodwork, MAK, Vienna, for kindly supplying this information and identifying the English ‘Chippendale’ armchair in the MAK (H1340) as the source for the Langers’ chairs.

31 Established by Carl Friedrich Schmidt (1824–1894) in 1853 as Tapeten-Niederlage ‘F. Schmidt & Sugg’ and claiming to have the ‘largest choice of the newest, most elegant and tasteful wallpapers and decoration from the finest French and German factories’. Schmidt’s sons continued the firm and, trading as Friedrich Otto Schmidt, it became one of the most successful interior design firms of the era in Vienna (Ottillinger, p. 71).

32 Ottillinger, p. 72.

33 Quoted in Ottillinger, p. 77.

34 Ottillinger, p. 40, no. 27, illustrates another example of this chair. She also illustrates an example from the F. O. Schmidt catalogue, comparing it with an image of an original Collison & Lock version (Ottillinger, p. 133, nos 172, 173). All four chairs appear identical.