Vienna: Anton Schroll, c. 1903-1910. Two volumes in three small quarto portfolios. 192; 32pp. First volume loose and second volume accordionfold, as issued. Full run of Die Fläche, or The Surface, a periodical produced by members of the Wiener Werkstätte to showcase and disseminate the work created in the Workshops. The periodical is a “Musterbuch,” or pattern book, and is composed entirely of reproductions of designs intended for practical application on all “surfaces,” including poster art, books, wallpaper, textiles, stained glass, inlay, embroidery, monograms, business cards, and costume jewelry. The two volumes contain a total of 124 pages of designs, all printed in bright colors via algraphy, or aluminum plate lithography. The designs are by notables such as Gustav Klimt, Johanna Hollmann, Minka Podhajska, Max Benirschke, Moritz Jung, and more.
Variously edited by Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Alfred Roller, Bertold Löffler, and others, the two undated volumes were published to “manifest [the Viennese style] in its most austere and purified form.” The Wiener Werkstätte was founded in 1903 by Hoffmann and Moser out of the Vienna Secession, which was a reaction against the conservative aesthetics of the Association of Austrian Artists at the Vienna Künstlerhaus. Hoffmann and Moser were inspired by contemporary European design, such as the Glasgow School in Scotland and Art Nouveau in France. They also appreciated the emphasis on the applied arts found in the workshops of William Morris. They established the Wiener Werkstätte as a continuation of Morris’ enterprise, and Die Fläche is a reflection of the skills taught and practiced in the Workshops. One of the most beautiful printed objects to come out of the Wiener Werkstätte, a complete series of this periodical is extremely rare to find. No complete copies have been sold at auction in twenty-five years. First portfolio bound in original cloth-backed paper-covered boards, which are rubbed at edges and waterstained on back cover; second volume portfolios rebound in modern cloth-backed boards, with original printed upper cover pasted on. Housed in two modern boxes. Bookplates. Item #25326
(Meggs' History of Graphic Design; Design, Vienna, 1890s-1930s plate 104).