Design & Decoration S03 ep18 : Fritz Maierhofer, Maierhofer Jewellery, [Vienna]
Interview with Fritz Maierhofer
In 1967 I was employed by Andrew Grima in London as a goldsmith and ended up staying in England for three years. In 1969 I was put in charge of the ornamental watch collection for Omega at Andrew Grima. Subsequently, I started to get interested in working with contemporary jewellery. I was mainly influenced by Stella Liechtenstein, Jim Dine and Trova, but also by the many colours of London, which contrasted with the greyness of daily life in Vienna."
I see myself as an artist, but I also do sculptures so it’s not only jewellery.
It can be gold, silver, … plastics, tin, anything.
The feeling what I have should cross over to another person the inner voice what tells you nothing
thinking in a person of wearing it.
I was trained as a goldsmith here in Vienna. I started 1955 as apprentice you know I didn’t get
much from that you know I have no personal background you know in thinking of art or art deco
huh but somehow probably thinking now it might have something to do with that time being in
That was a time when I started to learn here and to make my diploma I still did make my gold 18
carat evening bag and then it was finished for me and I thought well now I want to do something
different but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew jewellery shouldn’t look that, like that
what I wanted what I did yeah so that was the way to … and then I realised aha the road goes this
I had a chance to go to England you know in the 70’s some time there and I was working there and
suddenly I fell into the arts because ‘67 when I went and I stayed three years in England because
there was all sort of things happen.
I straight away wanted to leave you know because I couldn’t put up with the craftsmanship and
with the design and first I thought you know oh it’s something for me I could improve you know
but I stayed for a certain reason I stayed in there in that place and worked away.
The main thing was to come away from Austria, there was nothing going on you know in the way
of jewellery and to come to England was also a little bit of an accident I found Andrew B… he
know straight away I should come to England, to London and to work with him and then when I
came there it was fine you know I had a big workshop there. The work was, but as I state you know
I wanted to leave. The work was absolutely messy what he did and then he came up I mean he
could see what I am doing there you know because I made things you know like I did the Austrian
way I knew my job so nobody could tell me anything there, because there was the fact Andrew was
older you know and I was pleased with that you know and then I you remember but I already came
out with a large amount of only watches you know and I was in charge of that you know he asked
me to do that you know and then he gave me a few continental people from Switzerland, from
Germany and we started to do all the watches you know and none was perfect done.
I started already over there in England to do my own things. When I came here to Austria then I
started really to get into that having exhibitions and showing my work.
I always look you know for a new metal or what I am interested in, what comes up, you see it’s the
same with Chorea what I did you know because a lady came to me and say well I’ve just a kitchen
done by Chorea you know can you do something with this off cut, there is a samples of Chorea so I
had it laying there you know and then I thought well … fed up with laying here the silly Chorean
pieces no, just try do something you know, made two rings out of it and then it catches me.
Chorea is a funny material because it has done the stony stone jewellery maybe and they just start
to play with it you know that’s all what I am doing and what came out came into the pieces of
jewellery. That is a model and that becomes the sculpture and that is aluminium. I feel sorry you
know that people maybe don’t understand too much you know what we in art mean with jewellery.
And if you see a lady or a man wearing something you know with a bit outstanding you know,
people go oh, but would you wear it then. For me this wearing art.
I mean everybody needs art, … understands or not as you understand but need art to see things
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Fritz Maierhofer, Maierhofer Jewellery, Vienna