Archive for October, 2007

We paid a visit at the all new Budapest’s Secession Museum, hosted in three floors (underground, ground and first, respectively) in the former apartments house named Bedohaz in the fifth District (Honved utca, 3, project by the famous hungarian architect Emil Vidor).

The most of the pieces located there were forniture, but the museum had some very nice paintings and sculpture as well. OF course, all very Art Nouveau.




We were there just the day the museum eventually opened and, as you can see by yourself by seeing the gallery in the following part of the article, it really really worth the visit !

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Alpar, one of the most famous hungarian architect, as many other hungarian artist, did him artistic studies abroad and, in particular in Germany . Was, in fact, in Berlin where Arpad could keep in touch with many different architectural styles, such as Greco-Roman and ancient Eastern one, rather than neo-Renaissance, until Baroque and the most modern Historicist and Eclectic styles. Were those two styles in particular that characterized the very first works by the hungarian architect. After the beginnings, under architects Imre Steindl and Hauszmann, Alpar did his own projects. The first Alpar’s works were influenced mainly by Historicism and Eclectism.


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It’s not uncommon to feel yourself observed when walking through the utca of Budapest with all those faces …


Full gallery follows …

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In 1895, in the rooms of Műcsarnok Palace (Budapest) held an exhibition of foreign artists. A large amount of turn of the century illustrations, paintings, book decorations were exhibited. The artists came from Germany, England, Holland and Austria: in Budapest were eventually presented works by Franz von Stuck, Jan Toorop, Ferdinand Hodler, Axeli Gallen-Kallelá, Aubry Beardsley, Gustav Klimt and Walter Crane. The exhibition succedeed and, as a consequence , four years later, a monographic event presenting works by the english painter and illustrator Walter Crane was organized.  From Hungarian Quarterly:

1900 Walter Crane, by now arguably the best-known decorative artist in Britain since the death of William Morris in l896, held a one-man exhibition of his work at the Museum of Applied Arts, and was taken on a tour of Transylvania, where he made drawings of peasant ornament. Academics, museum directors, journalists and the Minister of Culture, Gyula Wlassics, danced attendance on him.[…]
The appetite of some progressive Hungarian architects and designers for things British seems to have been markedly intellectual, a matter of political ideals and radicalism. This sort of thing goes back to 1848. Thus the inspiring and confusing writings of John Ruskin counted for much, especially among the artists at Gödölloý. ‘We are all his disciples,’ Körösfoýi-Kriesch wrote, ‘whether we read a single line by him or not. He is the source of this entire modern artistic movement… William Morris, who stood at the head of the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain because of his social status as a poet, his interest in craftsmanship, and his success in designing and selling decorative art, was actually better known in Hungary as a Socialist and as the author of News from Nowhere. Walter Crane was not a thinker of the order of Ruskin and Morris-intellectually, his writings are bland. But he had the right credentials: he had learned his radicalism as a young man from his master in wood engraving, W. J. Linton, who was an active supporter of Kossuth. And when he visited Transylvania, his words and drawings gave confirmation to the Hungarian fascination with folk art.” – Hungarian Quarterly, VOLUME XLII * No. 163 * Autumn 2001

The influences of the english Art Nouveau movements upon the hungarian art at the turn of the century had a turning point in the Walter Crane exhibition held in Budapest in 1900. I was able to find out a reproduction of the poster eventually illustrated by Walter Crane himslef in that occasion, amongst other drawings performed by the artist for the hungarian literature magazine “Uj Idok”.

The original poster of the 1900 Walter Crane’s exhibition

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Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch was one of the most influent artist of the so called Gödöllő artistic community. its painting (but also its textile works and illustrations) are mostly influenced by the english developements of style at the turn of the century. In particular, the decorative use of lines (mainly for the influence of Walter Crane) and a symbolic taste are widely used at the Gödöllő brotherhood.

IT would be interesting to notice the close similarities between some of the Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch works and art nouveau artistic productions coming directly from the United Kingdom. I found some closeness, in particular, between a pen drawing by the english artist Gertrude Bradley (eventually entitled The Cherry Festival) and a very famous painting by Körösfői-Kriesch, now at the Hungarian National Gallery, named “The cicle of Klara”.

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On the left, the painting of the hungarian artist, on the right the engish illustrator’ work. Of course, here the similarities don’t reside on the subject itself, on the contrary is the style that, in my opinion, is similar. In particular, the main focus, in both the scenes, is placed on the very right. Moreover, in both the representations the main character is a soldier: and both the soldiers are so similar that, er, they really seem brother, at least. Look at the two details:


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The influences of the english Art Nouveau upon hungarian Szecesszio are not to be limited to the main role played by Walter Crane: the english Art Nouveau mainstream, and mainly the influences by the so called Arts and Craft movement, constitued one of the main source of ispirations for a large part of the hungarian turn-of-the-century artistic movements.

Main role of the line, floral decorations, symbolism of naturalistic elements and of the feminine characters, are elements that worth to be investigated when regarding at the relationship between the two movements.


From my personal hungarian library, this is one of the most beautiful book, either because of illustrations and, of course, because the author is my beloved Ady Endre.


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Really this post is not at all about the most famous sculpture of the hungarian artist Miklos Ligeti, the Anonymus statue at Varosligeti park. This is only the very first post of a new category I decided to name “Separated at birth”.

The famous Anonymus statue at Varosligeti park in Budapest

In those articles I’d like to show the similarities, either by artistic, subject or technical point of view, between two or more masterpieces, at least one of them hungarian by origin. In this article I’d like to let you notice the similarities, somewhat surprising, between a sculpture by Ligeti Miklos stored in the Hungarian National Museum, and another sculpture, by anonymous artist, I saw last saturday at the Art Verona fair.

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On the left side you can see the original Ligeti masterpiece; on the other side the anonymous  one. Below the Ligeti’s sculpture by another perspective:


 Ok, ok, maybe not so exciting as a comparison: You could expect something more, but this was only to introduce this category 😉


An image gallery presenting shots from one of the most interesting district of Budapest, as far as secession architecture is concerned.


Article, pictures and google map follow …
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Just found in my library this small booklet, late secession (1923) but very interesting with the geometric floreal decoration of the book binding, and, of course, for the fact it is a limited edition. Just 100 copies of that edition were eventually published. Cover illustration is a floreal decoration by Jeno Zobor. Editor is Athenaeum of Budapest.