Josef Hoffmann, born in 1870, studied architecture under Carl von Hasenquer and Otto Wagner at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In 1899, at the age of 29, he became a professor at what is now the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 1903 he and Kolo Moser established the Wiener Werkstätte. His first important building, the sanatorium in Purkersdorf, near Vienna, built in 1904, set radical new standards in architecture and interior design. But it was the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, built between 1905 and 1911, that founded his international reputation. Here, Josef Hoffmann succeeded in perfection the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art), reconciling art and life, and aestheticizing all aspects of design.
Josef Hoffmann's formal language is primarily characterized by strict geometrical lines, a search for simplicity, and the typical reduction to black and white. He overcame the duality of tradition and modernity and created works that are valid to this day. Josef Hoffmann died in Vienna in 1956.