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Work table, from the Gallia apartment boudoir c.1913

Josef HOFFMANN (designer)
 WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, Vienna (commissioning workshop)

This work table created by Josef Hoffmann in 1913 for the boudoir of Hermine Gallia epitomises the philosophy of design pursued by Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte. The table presents a clean, modern appearance, and its smooth, white-painted surfaces are highlighted by flat-carved and gilded, stylised floral motifs. The object stands in marked contrast to the dark, carved, historical-revival furniture that was fashionable among Vienna’s traditional elites at the time. However, while the table’s appearance may be self-consciously modern, its function speaks of a very traditional social milieu in which women’s place was in the home, occupied by traditional activities such as needlework.