Archive for the ‘Hungarian Secession Pictures’ Category

Well, the title is not to be intended as a B/series horror film coming out from the infamous ’80 … Rather, it refers to an house between the 7th and 6th Districts administrative border. The overall general style of the facade is eclectic, as many of the buildings here in Budapest of such dimension:


However, the neoclassic and somewhat heavy style of the overall structure is, quite surprisingly, characterized by a very inusual element which recalls some Symbolist Architecture of the german Jugendstil tradition. Can you see ? Just look a little bit closer …

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Several screaming faces are present on the whole surface of the facade. And if you pay attention the the expressions of these faces, you can feel their onw feelings, even if transfigurated by the symbolistic taste of the architect. You haven’t to be afraid of them, because they are not offending, they are just suffering, as they were perceiving the decadence of the Austria Felix …

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During the third November weekend there was in Budapest the most important art fair of the Hungarian capital city, Art Fair Budapest.

All the main Hungarian galleries of the capital were present, of course and also foreigner galleries exhibited and, asfar as the Hungarian Szecesszio is concerned, several noticeable pieces were present.

The most impressive piece of art nouveau was, probably, a complete dinner room designed by Toroczkai Wigand Ede. The style of this furniture is typical of the Hungarian ancient folk art and it is the result of the researches performed by various artists (Wigand himself, but also Karoly Kos, Bela Lajta and Kozma Lajos) questing for a national way to Art Nouveau. Toroczkai Wigand worked as architect in to Marosvásárhely, the Romanian equivalent of which nowadays is Târgu Mureş, where designed several buildings. He worked as applied art designer and its works are influenced by the typical patterns, styles and ornaments of the Hungarian national folk art.

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The great technical achievement in the development of the pottery manipulation due to the Zsolnay company of Pecs was able to give several creative opportunities to the applied artists. Let alone the new shining material called Eosin, which green, blue, violet and red refractions are more than a typical signature of the Zsolnay own production.

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This article would try to examine one particular achievement due to the new technology in pottery, the enhanced shapeable quality of the material which gave the artist the opportunity to create new effective lines and forms. The curves, the new stylistic religion off the Art Nouveau after Van de Velde, were explored deeply. The softened material gave the artist the same creativity freedom of the painter. And this achievement had as a consequence the use of very strange shapes for the most effective pottery creation

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As inspirational motive the artist could at that point borrow forms and figures from various sources such as bestiaries and illustrated books fulfilled with floral shapes. This is or example the case of the famous book of Erns Hackel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1899-1904, which serve as inspirational source for some Zsolnay creation.


The binding of the new shaping capability together with the brilliance of the Eosin material had, as a result, the creation of some very effective psychedelic, even ante litteram, effects.

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Some of them seems anticipation of some drawing of the great XX century Italian artist Luigi Serafini.

In other part of this blog some evidences of the relationship of the develoment of Hungarian Szecesszio influences from the British Art and Crafts movement were outlined. In particular, since the exhibition, due in 1900, of the british painter and book illuminator Walter Crane those influences became very relevant and characterized mostly of the work of severla hungarian secessionist artist (Sandor Nagy) particularly as far as the book illustration was concerned. Those influences cohabited with other sources which eventually insipred the work of the Hungarian Szecesszio (influences, for example, of the austrian Secessionist movement as well as Wiener Werkstaette on the work of Kozma Lajos, as noted in a very recent post, are noticeable).

In this article, influences of the pre-Art and Craft movement (hitherto with strong relationship with this) named Pre-Raphaelite, after the artists brotherhood who constituted  the movement itself, on the Hungarian painter Aladar Körösfői-Kriesch were outlined. As an example, two works of Aladar Körösfői-Kriesch will be examined. The two paintings refer to the so called "Cicle of Klara" and dated 1911. they both are actually in the National Hungarian Museum of Budapest and the picture here presented were taken in the room of the Museum.

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Both the paintings related to the history of Klara Zach, In this work of Körösfői-Kriesch, as on the big-format paintings,  titled: Zách Klára, and on his goblein (woman with a rose) the figure of Zách Klára is an innocently killed, suffering womans are illustrated, whom refused a God, and a highness (Kasszandra Apollő -the brother of Zách Klára) ‘s love.


The nudity symbolizes the innocence and the vulnerability of the heroes, pre-destinated to fall. The future of both suffering women are intertwines with the destruction of their city/country. Kasszandra symbolizes tragedy of  Troy, Zách Klára symbolizes the tragedy of Hungary.

Basically, the theme itself could also typical of the Pre-Raphaelitism, since for the brotherhood Renaissance epic constituted one of the main influencing streams. The human characters, mainly female (as per the preraphaelite …) were dressed with traditional clothing, even if here seems that Korosfoi was inspired more from the Italian Renaissance rather than the tradition of his own Hungarian homeland.

Redhair girls are prominent in those two paintings as well as in several works of the Pre-Raphaelite. The following are respectively masterpieces of Edmund Blair Leighton (God Speed, 1900) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Lady Lilith, 1968; The Bowder Meadow, 1871-72; The blessed Damozel, 1878)

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All those paintings are inspired by late medieval themes and aesthetics. However, some noticeable differences are noticeable between the paintings of Rossetti and the two of Korosfoi. Basically, I would refer to such differences as related to the role of the woman. In Rossetti, woman still was characterized with ephemeral sight, with a sort of absence in her own eyes, lack of intellectual related activities. Woman in Rossetti painting are like puppets, even beautiful and fascinating, but who seem completely disoriented (in a way they have some similarities with some "Beveuse d’Absrynth" portrayed in some of the turn of the century french area paintings)without any evidence of autonomous (nor actual) thought . On the contrary, female characters in the painting of Kriesch are, on the contrary, really noticeable. Both the Kresch paintings show two group of female characters and, in every case, the feelings and attitude of the characters themselves are quite noticeable, without any doubt.l

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Eyes and expressions of the faces are more than just outlined in those paintings. Feelings like joy, superb, envy, sadness, … are absolutely well evident in the lines of the faces. Obviously even women acting on the main scene are well characterized as well :

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No doubts, even for Kriesch the late Middle age was a source of inspiration. But the symbolism of the Hungarian painter has some different peculiarities if related to the older Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The woman for the British movement was a symbol mainly for the inner, obscure and mainly unknown forces which rule the Nature in the whole. Feminine was a symbol for a fierce, outstanding and still dangerous force which can represent a threat or a menace for human beings. The woman of Kriesch is conceived having a much more complicated character and, as a consequence, symbolism of the feminine itself is much more complex. The females here preserve sensual character, which was even a topic for the British brotherhood (think, as an example, to the red lips of Rossetti’s portraits). and, even, some of the character in the Kriesch painting show a menacing attitude. However the feminine is beaten, till the death of Klara in the last scene, and by male (the soldier) human figure; and she are in deep sadness as well, desperation which, however, doesn’t seem to be characterized by an inner fragility of the weaker sex, as per the former century tradition.

Kriesch’s female characters, in a word, are living beings, not merely beautiful puppets, thus reflecting the changing paradigm of the feminine which characterized the art at the end of the century and the art within the Hungarian Szecesszio in particular. Again, the feminine hasn’t at all the ethereal aspect of the woman in the late Renaissance nor the adorable virginal beauty and attitude of the female figures sang by late medieval cavalry epics. Kriesch females have complex characters, different attitude and they act in the scene in an unpredictable non-taxonomical way.

Symbolizing Hungary, Kriesch’s Cicle of Klara shows a feminine who is beaten by some evil and stronger forces but who also is still able to preserve her character, beaten but not annihilated.


Maybe the most famous building of the Hungarian Secession, the Magyar Iparművészet building, due to the effort of the most known turn-of-the-century Hungarian architect, Odon Lechner.

Well, this morning I was the nearby of Ulloi ut, the street where the building is located, and decided to took some pictures. But this morning was a little bit foggy, so I didn’t waste my time taking pictures overcharged by whites (yes, tend to be a perfectionist even more…). Just to try the 10x optical zoom feature of my brand new FujiFilm S5800 I decided to take just details. In which are mostly noticeable the influences on the works of Lechner by the Hungarian national folk art.

Here are. Enjoy !!!

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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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Ferdnand Khnopff vs Otto Eckmann

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