Archive for the ‘Hungarian Secession History’ Category


Béla Lajta (nèe Leitersdorfer)


Bela Löffler, Szendrői Dezso, Tálos Gyula, Lajos Kozma


Pest, 23 Jan 1873 – Vienna, 12 Oct 1920



He visited Italy, Germany and England. France Spain and Russia.
In Germany he keep in touch with Alfred Messel in Germany  and Eberhard Ihne. In years 1898-1899 he was in London where he staid in close contact with Richard Norman Shaw, and with Baillie Scott, and subsequently in Austria with  Josef Hoffmann, and personal Adolf Loos. After his return in Hungary, he studied the national art and the style Transylvania and Upper Hungary folk art. 
During 1902 and 1903, he worked in contact with Ödön Lechner. Other than pure Architecture design, he worked also as interior designer
His style was heavily influenced by the ideas about national art of Odon Lechner and, as a matter of fact, Lajta himself had the goal to preserve folk architecture style, together with ancient
motives. Lajta art was also influenced by the English villa’s architecture, by Finnish national
romantic and Austrian modern architecture.


Budapest X., Kozma utcai izraelita temető Schmidt Sándor sírboltja



Budapest XIV., Mexikói út 60. Vakok Intézete 1905—1908


Budapest XIV., Izsó utca Malonyay Dezső villája 1905-1907.


Budapest XIV., Amerikai út 57. Budapesti Chevra Kadisa Gyógyíthatatlan Betegek Intézete


Budapest VI., Paulay Ede utca 35. Parisiana mulató 1908-1909. Épületszobrász -munkák Maróti Géza


Budapest VIII, Vas utca 11. Székesfővárosi Kereskedelmi Iskola 1909-1912


Budapesí V.. Martinelli tér 5. Lajta Henrik és Rezső üzletháza. Földszintjén a Rózsavölgyi Zeneműbolt berendezése Kozma Lajos tervei szerint készült. 1911—1912.


Budapest VII., Rákóczi út 18. Erzsébetvárosi Bank háza 1911 —1913.


Budapest VIII., Népszínház utca 19. Harsányi-ház 1911—1912


Budapest V. Szent István tér 14. Hecht Jónás nagykereskedés portálja 1906—1907



Művészet magazine, volume 12, pp 285 – 294

285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294

Der Architekt, Volume 1911, pp-34-37

page_5_33 page_5_34 page_5_35 page_5_36 page_5_37 page_5_38 page_5_39 page_5_40

Zala György frieze on his own villa


Zala György


Architect: Lajos Jambor (Frommer)
Architect: Odon Lechner
Interior Architect: Ede Toroczkai Wigand


1900 – 1901



Designed in typical Art Nouveau style, Zala’s villa presents on the façade  Zala’s own relief, The Celebration Of Venus.




The turn of the century – the era when the art of György Zala was awakened and reached maturity – is one of the most exciting periods in Hungarian social and cultural history, and one that is uniquely rich in works of art.
His development, his personality as an artist and his immense capacity for work have made him along with contemporaries such as Alajos Strobl and János Fadrusz one of the definitive figures of the time and a chronicler of the period on account of his prolific output.
He lived for his work. His life was long and he continued to work throughout his life. Even during the confusing, tormented, crisisridden times following the First World War, he received noteworthy commissions.


The Moorish styled Synagogue in Rumbach street, Budapest, is often presented as the sole work due in Hungary by the Austrian turn of the Century leading architect Otto Wagner.  Well, strictly sense it is not exactly true, if we consider the plan for a beautiful Pest (Stadtverschönerungsplan für Pest with Hungarian architect Antal Honvery) and the plan for the Budapest Parliament presented in 1883 together with architects Moriz Kallina and Reszö Bernd. Anyway these two latter project never became reality and remained just projects.

On the Austrian Architectur Lexikon there’s also another building in Budapest attributed to Wagner. Accordingly to the site (

um 1900 Miethaus „Industriehof“, Budapest, H, Bajcsi-Zsilinszky utca (mit Moriz Kallina)

Well, honestly I couldn’t find any evidence on the existence of such a building. I tried even on my copy of “Budapest epiteszeti topografia” but I wasn’t able to find any evidence of Otto Wagner’s works in Bajcsi-Zsilinszky utca.

Anyway, regardless of that phantom building (if someone has further information, please keep in touch and share :) ), the Synagogue in Rumbach utca (which actually really exists) is very interesting piece in the history of art.

Well, maybe it is not so outstanding per se: but it actually is considering it was one of the first important project executed by Otto Wagner (1868).

Surrounded by relatively small buildings, in a very strict street, the Moorish overall style of the façade (anyway without any baroque excess nor eclectic taste), the light red/yellow colors, the tall towers, constitute all contrasting elements.


While the façade is in an overall good shape and status, entering the Synagogue is a more painful experience. Just passed the entrance door, this is what we could see (really, no comment):


The entrance to the main lodge:


Looking upside, to the roof, quite impressive is the hexagonal cupola:


Again, colors are outstanding and the abstract floral decoration look like an anticipation of later development of Austrian Secession. Even more abstract form, which look like Wiener Werkstaette wallpaper (of course, ante litteram) fully decorate the interior walls of the Synagogue:


Once again, the wall, including decorations, is seriously damaged in some parts:


Light trough the Synagogue is filtered by some large decorated window: the overall luminosity is really good, considering the lack of other light sources other than the outside, and considering how much is strict Rumbach utca:



The pavement is completely gone: some marbles are collected in the angle of the Hexagonal structure:


The poor condition of the Synagogue is something which touch the hearth of art lover. We understand that actually the building is under reconstruction, and it is ok. Glad to hear this ? Well, there is a problem, actually. I paid visit to this Synagogue as late as  summer 2007 and I took some pictures with an old Casio camera. Well, fortunately something is going better: at least, the box with the script “made in USSR (in Russian !) is finally disappeared:

Anyway is really frightening the fact that the stair is still there, and in about the same position !


Honestly, we are confident that the restoration will happen, one day. We rely on it, to finally being able to fully admire the early work of a future genius of modern architecture.

Ödön Lechner



Marcell Komor



Károly Bodon



Ödön Faragó



Nagy Lázár



Lajos Jámbor



Pál Horti



Wigand Ede Toroczkai



Károly Kós



Maróti Géza



Béla Lajta



Lajos Kozma



Jószef Vágó





Exactly 101 years after its inauguration, the building which hosted the thermal SPA named Hungaria Bath (Furdő in Hungarian) is now in fully reconstruction. works are not finished yet, but we could at least see the façade own frieze in its original color, cleaned by 100 years of dusk and smog.

The building was designed by architect Emil Agoston. Actually the very part of the building itself is lost, and the restoration will completely reconstruct the vast missing part of the architecture. Anyway, the frieze on the front survived the 100 decadence of the building. The work, due to sculpture Krisztian Sandor, is now cleaned and finally shows the original aspect, with the outstanding colors (as per the Hungarian tradition, due to eosin ceramics) of the “Hungarian Furdo” name:

The restoration unveiled even an unattended results (at least, to me): one of the two mermaids is realy, well, not at all a mermaid rather a triton!

At this point (November 2009) the works are not finished but this restoration seems promising. We are looking forward to see the Hungaria Furdo back, 100 years later.


In these days, in the rooms of the Applied Art Museum of Budapest, takes place a very interesting exhibition related to the szecesszio style manufacture during the turn of the century. Furniture, jewels, objects, mainly property of the museum itself, are exhibited. More information could be found here:

Applied Art Museum of Budapest home page

To celebrate the event, published in digital format two outstanding and rare documents. They refer to the VERY first exhibition, held in April 1898 dedicated to the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau, right in the same rooms of the Applied Art Museum.

The first document, is the complete reportage (the “cover story”) that the monthly magazine “Magyar Iparmuveszet “ dedicated to that event. It contains several pictures, some of them with beautiful poster by the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha:

Magyar Iparmuveszet – reportage on the Budapest Applied Art museum exhibition

The second document, is a rare exemplar of the exhibition full catalogue. It is part of my personal collection and now fully digitized:

A Modern Muveszet – az iparmuveszet muzeum kiallitasa – the catalogue

The document itself represents an invaluable resource for the historian of art. The 1898 exhibition represented the very first time Hungary kept in touch with Art Nouveau international  style, either considering furniture, interior design and poster/graphic design. For that reason, the pieces exhibited and their style, were the primary source of inspiration for the birth of szecesszio in Hungary, the Hungarian National variant of the international Art Nouveau/Jugendstil style.


The very goal of the Lechner’s work was not exactly the development of the art nouveau style in Hungary.No doubt that the Lechner style was influencing as far the development of a national way to the art fin-de-siècle is concerned. But this influence was a corollary beside the Lechner’s goal to define a real Hungarian formal artistic language.

A very interesting evidence of these researches, is the so called Blue Church in Bratislava, actually capital city of the Republic of Slovakia but at the time (1907) of the church building, part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

From wikipedia:

The Church of St. Elisabeth (Slovak: Kostol svätej Alžbety, Hungarian: Szent Erzsébet templom), commonly known as Blue Church (Modrý kostolík, Kék templom), is an Hungarian Secessionist (Jugendstil) Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia. It is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in the Pressburg Castle (pozsonyi vár). It is called "Blue Church" because of the colour of its façade, mosaics, majolicas and blue-glazed roof.

The structure of this catholic church is a single nave architecture solution. Beside the church itself is also present a grammar school, work of Lechner, with the typical lines and rounded forms characteristic of the Lechner’s own style:

This building is actually under reconstruction: if the façade is completed yet (see pictures above), the courtyard is being reconstructed nowadays:

Back to the church, it is characterized by a tall 36.8 meter high cylindrical church tower. At first, a cupola was planned, but was never constructed; instead, a barrel vault was built, topped by a hip roof. The roof is covered with glazed bricks with decoration, for the purpose of parting. The church was originally painted with pastel pale yellow color and, at a later time, painted in the nowadays famous blue/pale blue color. A recent restoration of the building charged more the blue tones:

The entire façade as well as the tower is decorated by geometric and linear stylized elements. The lines of the small windows and portals are also designed with curve lines:


Quite interesting the church represents something unique in the development of Lechner’s own style. The geometric Hungarian patterns which heavily characterized about the totality of previous Lechner works were, in the Bratislava church, noticeably mitigated; the floral decorations are completely absent here; the traditional Lechner lines of the roof is in case of the St. Elisabeth Church realized in a smother way, lines and curves being much more morbid than in other building of the architect, with rounded structural elements on the façade which contribute to a general curvilinear and morbid aesthetic feelings.

Oriental and Hungarian traditional artistic patterns, which constitute one of the very typical aspect of Lechner’s own aesthetic, in this building were mitigated by typical rounded lines which are characteristic of the European Art Nouveau. Linear ornament characterizes every part of the building, instead of Lechner’s classic This is probably the most Art nouveau styled work of Lechner.

The interior is richly decorated with altarpieces. On the altar there is an illustration of St. Elisabeth, depicted giving out abilities to the beggars and poor. On the top of the main entrance door there is a mosaic, too, painted in the typical style of Gödöllő school.

Ok then. As many readers should know, I am really an admirer of the work of Lajos Kozma, and specially as far as his graphic work is concerned. I wrote an aesthetic analysis some time ago ( on his outstanding contribution on the history of Hungarian Art Nouveau. Today I went to a very interesting conference at the ELTE University, and I met Historians of Arts who were interested in this author. I then decided to completely rescan this incredible book illustrated by Kozma from my personal collection, using the new digital scan processing I put together some weeks ago. For all the relevant information related to this book, I would suggest you to follow the link I provided some lines above. I hope you will enjoy the unusual style of my so beloved Lajos Kozma.


Some of my twelve readers maybe wondered why the restyling of the web site removed some of the typical curves of the previous layout in favor of a completely new decoration, which doesn’t look coherent with the typical art nouveau stylistic  background.

Well, my dear readers, you are wrong :) The new site layout, and in particular the new floral decoration which adorns is really typical as far as the Hungarian Secession is concerned. One of the stylistic topic of the development of the New Style here in Hungary, was exactly the use (and sometimes the abuse) of flowers related decors.

The fundamental work was the essay on the Hungarian folklore art  due to the ethnologist József Huszka. In 1885 he published a booklet entitled “Magyar dicsőítő styl”, “The Hungarian Floral Style”. In his essay, Huszka pointed out that the Hungarian folk art was filled by decorations which basically recalls, in an essential manner, the forms and the lines of the countryside flowers. This essay was really influending as far as the development of the Art Nouveau in Hungary is concerned and, more in general, if one considers the quest of a very specific National Style. That quest, as we pointed out in this blog several times, was a topic of many Secessionist Hungarian artists, from Karoly Kos, to Odon Lechner, from the architect Bela Lajta to the influencing art historian and critic Karoly Lyka. Just to mention some of the work which are evidently influenced by this Floral Style:

Not surprisingly, this attitude towards stylized floral decorations was not typical as decors for building’s façades. At the turn of the century, a reprisal of the National folk art elements, and mainly the floral style was a common topic even for book illustrations. I have found some very interesting examples, some days ago, in a book in my Africa library. The publication is really the almanac for the year 1907 of the Hungarian Printers Association (Magyar Nyomda Évkönyv). In an article on the Hunfarian Floral Folk style, several plates filled by example of such a style are eventually presented, due to the drawings of Antal Aigner. Here you go !


Ferdnand Khnopff vs Otto Eckmann

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