Archive for October, 2008


Lajos Kozma (Kiskorpad, 1884 – Budapest, 1948) is one of the most interesting and original artist in the history of the Hungarian Szecesszio. He studied architecture in Budapest when in his own 20th, even if his interests were also in the illustration graphics, in furniture design and in buildings decoration. This one will be the first of a series of articles on this exceptional and maybe rather unknown artist, maybe one of the most interesting figure in the history of Hungarian Secesszio.

In this article the work of Kozma as book illustrator is presented. Eventually, the article contains a digitized version of Révész Béla’s Találkozás Hamupipőkével, one of the most important piece of art as far as the book illustration during the turn of the century period in Hungary.


As for Bela Lajta and Karoly Kos, the mainstream interest for Kozma was the Hungarian national artistic tradition (Magyar nepvuveszet). He studied the popular art in the rural area of Kalotaszeg and influences from those studies are well evident in his graphical works as well as his decorations for some Lajta architected buildings. However popular art wasn’t the sole source of inspiration for Kozma. He was very acknowledged of the work of the Wiener Werkstaette (eventually himself tried to proceed in the foundation of an Hungarian Budapester Werkstaette which, however, never reached the level of the wiener counterpart). and in particular of the geometric style of Josef Hoffman and of Koloman Moser. Geometrism in a black and white graphic which inherited some influences from the English Arts and Crafts tradition (William Morris, as far as the complexity of the lines are concerned) and of the later British symbolism (Aubrey Beardsley). In the comments included in the presentation of the Találkozás Hamupipőkével illustrations themselves, some evidences of strong influences from symbolist visions of Gustav Klimt and Ferdnand Khnopff are also noticed.


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After three hours of train trip, really mainly passed out sleeping, departing from Budapest I finally arrived at home. No, I didn’t find out a very fast line between Hungary and Italy, not really. The fact is that I spend an entire day in Wien and really I felt so comfortably at home that I really couldn’t imagine having really left Budapest. The two cities are maybe the most outstanding example of how Secession was an European artistic movement, rather than a national one, able to share experiences and influences without, of course, renouncing to the inner national characteristic of the style.

The author here don’t affirm at all the two cities are identical, or they could be confused. Not at all, since there are differences, by either architectural, urbanistic and artistic point of view. however the development of the Secession and of the Szecesszio have some interconnections which are more evident when comparing some buildings and artistic production in general.

In this first insight, the neoclassical turn-of-the-century tendencies and related applications in the two cities are examined.

Let’s begin this trip. Noticeably, the development of the art fin-de-siecle in both the cities have a common point in a very particular attitude toward classicism:

A building in first distric, in Wien
a neoclassic tatse building in the 6th District in Budapest …


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It is fully Autumn, in Budapest as well. It is still warm enough to have nice walk through the city. Some Art Nouveau detail reveal some influences from Belgian and French Art Nouveau, like the following captured on the Pest Vigado’s façade:

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But the season itself requires a more meditative attitude through the very typical colors of autumn. Best bet to walk through the small ways of the Kerepesi cemetery, where all is covered by leaves, and colors are astonishing:

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Sunlight is a little bit opaque, as a fine veil are passing slowly. The mourning of the statues out there is like a feeble voice: you can hear it thought the sad and fascinating lines of the vests and of the female bodies. The Szecesszio here, in the melancholy of these statues seems to be fully aware of ruling line of van De Velde and of the sad, melancholic, ambiguous and seductive mouths of sir Dante Gabriel Rossetti …

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Well, my dear readers of You may have noticed tht the blog was silent for about one month. This silence was not due by lack of interest of the blogger himself, but by the fact that I had to spend three weeks in another, beautiful, outstanding city. I just come back from San Francisco !
Of course, my main concern out there was my job. However I was able to take a lot of pictures and actually I’m reading the tons of art literature I was able to pass through the Atlantic.
This post is the very first of a series dedicated to San Francisco and the Bay Area, including Oakland, San Jose, El Dorado and … Amsterdam ! With an insight on the art and crafts, art nouveau and art deco styles in this part of the States. I will continue to publish Budapest related news and pictures as well, since October is a very interesting month as far as the history of art is concerned.
This first post is an introduction, with several pictures taken in the nearby of SF, including San Mateo and the Pacifica hills. No Art Nouveau at this point but I hope you will enjoy as well.
Salut !