Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser
Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser
Place of Birth
Hofzinser possessed the supreme ability of sleight-of-hand and specializes in the close-up performance of playing cards. He is also an accomplished inventor of numerous card effects and manipulation techniques - many of which are still used today, such as the "Hofzinser Bottom Palm."
It is postulated that after Hofinzer's death, many of his mechanical plans and card handling methods may forever remain a secret. However, several of Hofzinser's pupils preserved portions of their teacher's notes and instructions.
There are still approximately 270 manuscripts and letters of his own and of his pupils in various collections.
Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser was born in Vienna, Austria on June 19, 1806.
He lived in Vienna during a time called the "Biedermeier." This was a time where people enjoyed art and entertainment in drawing-room presentations and at little receptions in the houses and villas of the rich and famous.
During his early adulthood, Hofzinser worked as a clerk in the financial department of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy. At the same time he was mastering the art of magic and began performing as an amateur magician in his early twenties.
He turned semi-pro in 1854; then in 1865, he retired from his government job and began working as a full-time professional magician.
Hofzinser became a household name throughout Europe. From 1857 on, under the name of his wife Wilhemine, Hofzinser entertained in their salon for VIP audiences three or four times a week.
They called these gatherings "An Hour of Deception" and charged a relatively high price for admission. In 1865 he went on tour with his show and was seen in Berlin, Munich and in most of the bigger cities in the Austrian Monarchy.
During his illustrious career, he mingled with many great artists, such as the French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz as well as other members of high society.
Hofzinser was famous for his "close-up" branch of magic, and performed in an intimate setting using only small props to showcase his skills.
He specialized in card magic, and he was one of the earliest performers to demonstrate card tricks.
He also invented many card effects and techniques, some of which continue to be used by magicians today.
Hofzinser is believed to be the creator of "Double-Face" cards and other types of prepared cards, and also may have been the inventor of "Clock Dial."
Little was known of Hofzinser's contributions prior to the researches of Otttokar Fischer. Fischer wrote two books on Hofzinser's work: Kartenkünste (1910) and Zauberkünste (1942) though many of Fischer's findings turned out to be incorrect.
In recent years, Austrian magician Magic Christian has discovered many new facts about the life and magic of Hofzinser, publishing them in his books "Non Plus Ultra," currently available only in German.
Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser died on March 11, 1875. His many contributions in the field of card magic has dubbed him the "Father of Card Magic" by most prominent representatives of modern card-artistry.
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