Koloman Moser, Fauteuil used for the XVlll. Secessions Exhibit and the Entrance Hall of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, 1903 © Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 4354

Koloman Moser, Fauteuil used for the XVIII. Secessions Exhibit and the Entrance Hall of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium

For the opening of the Leopold Museum in 2001, the Foundation presented the gift of this legendary armchair by Kolo Moser, who originally unveiled the design in 1903 at Gustav Klimt’s first Secession exhibition. And in 1904, when Josef Hoffmann was planning a sanatorium near Vienna—which was actually intended to be more of a spa hotel and social gathering place for the Viennese art scene—he chose Kolo Moser’s chair design for the entrance hall seating. Since then, the armchairs in the entrance hall of Purkersdorf Sanatorium have been sat in by such luminaries as Arthur Schnitzler, Egon Fridell, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schönberg, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and, of course, Josef Hoffmann and Kolo Moser.

The unadorned architecture of this facility stood out by virtue of its straight lines and chessboard-patterned décor, with which the woven cane seating surface of the chair, varnished in black and white, engaged in dialogue. Since the period beginning around 1900 saw both Kolo Moser and Joseph Hoffmann fascinated with geometric patterns and simple, cubic forms, one can observe many similarities between Hoffmann’s architecture and Moser’s designs—including the cubic nature of the Purkersdorf Chair, which is composed of straight surfaces.

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