Fun for Family and Friends
Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser
Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser was born on the 19th of June 1806.
He was a contemporary of the famous Austrian singer, actor and playwright: Johann Nestroy. From his salon in Vienna, Hofzinser frequently entertained the high Society of Vienna mixing social satire with magic.
Today he is remembered fondly as the father of card magic who probably pioneered the use of gimmicked cards and innovative sleights of hand in his beguiling card tricks. In many ways he was one of the first to advocate simplicity of performance, eliminating elaborate costumes and stage apparatus in favour of the simple but highly skilled art of card magic and manipulation.
Pictured: Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser
Hofzinser was probably the first card magician to perform many of the card tricks that we know and love today including the trick commonly known as “The parting of the ways” in which a pack of cards is randomly dealt face down into two piles by a spectator and at the end of the deal the two piles when turned face up are seen to have been split perfectly into red cards and black cards.
Many of the card sleights still in use today may be attributed to Hofzinser – a couple which spring to mind are the ‘Hofzinser Bottom Palm’ and the ‘Hofzinser Fan Force’ (also known as the Spread Force or Touch Force). There are many more.
Hofzinser died in 1875 on the 11th of March but during his lifetime he mixed with many great artists for example the composer Hector Berlioz as well as other members of high society. He travelled extensively throughout Europe performing even before the Austrian monarchy and made sufficient impact upon the world of card magic that in recent years, card magic exponents such as Dai Vernon have spoken of the great Hofzinser with great reverence and respect. Although he requested that his magic secrets be buried with him, Ottokar Fischer searched through Hofzinser’s correspondence to friends and went on to compile Kartenkünstler (Card Tricks 1910).
Some of the magic apparatus he once owned is still around today. His card rise box is just one of them. Click here to see photos and detailed descriptions.