The turn of the century marks one of the most important epochs, the golden age of Budapest. After the revolution and the war of independence (1848-49), which were followed almost twenty years later by the period of national resistance, the city reached the crowning point in its development in about 1900. Budapest, the capital of Hungary, evolved from the old towns of Óbuda (Old-Buda), Buda and Pest, six years after the Austro-Hungarian agreement and the establishment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the city grew to a surprising degree. During this period, its population tripled, rising from 280,000 to 933,000, whilst the number of its buildings almost doubled. These constructions were planned and supervised by the capital’s Council for Public Works, the central organisation responsible for city planning. They turned Budapest into a metropolis in the truest sense of the word.

The buildings display two noticeable styles, those of Historicism and Art Nouveau, or rather several variants of Art Nouveau. In contrast to Historicism, Hungarian Art Nouveau is based on the national architectural characteristics. Taking the eastern origins of the Hungarians into account, Ödön Lechner (1845-1914), the most important figure in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was initially inspired by Indian and Syrian architecture, and later by traditional Hungarian decorative designs. In this way, he created an original synthesis of architectural styles. By applying them to three-dimensional architectural elements, he produced a version of Art Nouveau that was specific to Hungary.

Turning away from the style of Lechner, yet taking inspiration from his approach, the group of ‘Young People’ (Fiatalok), which included Károly Kós and Dezsö Zrumeczky, were to use the characteristic structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture to achieve the same end.

Besides the two principal styles, the town also displays local versions of trends originating from other European countries. The Sezession from Vienna, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France and the influence of English and Finnish architecture are all reflected in the buildings constructed at the turn of the century. Béla Lajta initially adopted Lechner’s style, subsequently drawing his inspiration from English and Finnish trends; after developing an interest in the Egyptian style, he finally arrived at modern architecture. Aladár Árkay took almost the same route. István Medgyaszay developed his own style, which differed from Lechner’s, using stylised traditional motifs to create decorative designs in concrete. In the sphere of applied arts, those chiefly responsible for promoting the spread of Art Nouveau were the School and Museum of Decorative Arts, which opened in 1896.

Image artist function date
Ödön Lechner architect 1845-1914
Géza Maróti architect, sculptor, decorator 1875-1941
István Medgyaszay architect 1877-1959
József Rippl-Rónai painter 1861-1927
Miksa Róth stained-glass artist 1865-1944
István Sovánka artist in glass 1858-1945
Oszkár Tarján silversmith 1875-1933
Aladár Árkay architect 1868-1932
Pál Horti decorator 1865-1907
Marcell Komor architect 1864-1977
Dezsö Jakab architect 1864-1932
Károly Kós architect, graphic designer, writer 1883-1977
Aladár Körösföi-Kriesch painter 1863-1920
Sándor Nagy painter 1869-1950
Béla Lajta architect 1873-1920
Vilmos Zsolnay founder of a ceramic factory 1828-1900
Zoltán Bálint architect 1871-1939
Ödön Faragó artist, designer 1869-1935
Dénes Györgyi architect 1886-1961
Lajos Jámbor architect 1869-1955
Albert Kőrössy architect 1869-1955
Frigyes Spiegel artist 1866-1933
Ede Toroczkai Wigand architect, artist 1869/1870 -1945
Mariska Undi (Springholz) artist 1877-1959
József Vágó architect 1877-1947
Dezső Zrumeczky architect 1883-1917
Cover Author Description date Link
János Gerle, Attila Kovács, Imre Makovecz A századforduló magyar építészete

Budapest : Szépirodalmi Könyvkiadó-BONEX ISBN: 963-15-4278-5
Katalin Gellér-Katalin Keserü A gödöllői művésztelep
Summary in English
Budapest : Cégér ISBN: 963-8107-17-0
György Szegő Teremtés és átváltozás: Budapest szecessziós építészete a századfordulón / Schaffung und Metamorphose : Architektur des Jugendstils in Budapest um die Jahrhundertwende / Creation and metamorphosis : the art nouveau architecture in Budapest at the turn of the century

Budapest : HG & Társa Kiadó ISBN: 963-85174-4-1
János Gerle, László Lugosi Lugo A szecesszió Budapesten

Budapest : Magyar Könyvklub ISBN: 963-548-960-9
Anthony Gall Kós Károly műhelye: tanulmány és adattár / The workshop of Károly Kós: a study and documentation

Budapest : Mundus ISBN: 963-8033-17-7
Éva Csenkey et al. (ed.): Hungarian Ceramics from the Zsolnay Manufactory, 1853-2001

New York : The Bard Graduate Center ISBN: 0-300-097042
János Gerle Lechner Ödön

Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 963-346-611-3 (Az építészet mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
Anne Lambrichs József Vágó 1877-1947: Un architecte hongrois dans la tourmente européenne

Bruxelles : AAM ISBN: 2-87143-125-6
Katalin Gellér (comp., ed.) A gödöllői művésztelep, 1901-1920 / The artists’ colony of Gödöllő

Gödöllő : Gödöllői Városi ISBN: 963-210-126-X
Ferenc Potzner Medgyaszay István

Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 963-346-668-7 (Az építészei mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
Máté Millisits Budapest színes város: Zsolnay-épületkerámiák

Budapest : Ernst Múzeum ISBN: 963-7032-30-4
Federico Santi and John Gacher Art Nouveau ironwork of Austria and Hungary

Atglen : Schiffer Publishing Ltd. ISBN: 0-7643-2436-5
Katalin Keserü A századforduló

ISBN: 978-963-9529-16-8
Katalin Keserü Toroczkai Wigand Ede
Summary in English
Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 978-963-346-818-0 (Az építészet mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
Gabriella Balla (kiáll.rend. és szerk.) Tiffany & Gallé : A szecesszió üvegművészete

Budapest : Iparművészeti Múzeum ISBN: 978-963-9738-02-7
Gabriella Balla (exhibition concept and ed.) Tiffany & Gallé : Art nouveau glass.

Budapest : Museum of Applied ISBN: 978-963-9738-03-4
Zsolt Somogyi A magyar szecesszió bútorművészete
Summary in English
Budapest : Corvina ISBN: 978-963-13-5851-3
Réka Várallyay; Komor Marcell, Jakab Dezső
Summary in English
Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 978-963-346-901-9 (Az építészet mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
Anne Lambrichs Vágó József
Summary in English
Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 978-963-346-900-2 (Az építészet mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
László Vízy Pártázatok káprázata. A Zsolnay-kerámia a századforduló építészetében és szobrászatában
Summary in German
Budapest ISBN: 978-963-08-2748-5
János Gerle, Tamás Csáki (ed.): Lajta Béla
Summary in English
Budapest : Holnap ISBN: 978-963-349-040-2 (Az építészet mesterei, ISSN 1588-919X)
Miklós Gálos (szerk.) A szecesszió mesterei az Iparművészeti Múzeumban

Budapest : Iparművészeti Múzeum ISBN: 978-615-5217-07-4
Miklós Gálos (ed.) Masters of Art Nouveau in the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts

Budapest : Museum of Applied Arts ISBN: 978-615-5217-18-0
József Sisa Lechner, az alkotó géniusz.

Budapest : Iparművészeti Múzeum : MTA BTK Művészettörténeti Intézet ISBN: 978-615-5217-14-
József Sisa Lechner, a creative genius

Budapest : Museum of Applied Arts : Institute of Art History, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences ISBN: 978-615-5217-15-9
Béla Bede Hungarian art nouveau architecture: 225 highlihgts

Budapest : Corvina ISBN: 978-963-13-6306-7
Béla Bede Magyar szecessziós építészet: 225 kiemelt épülettel

Budapest : Corvina ISBN: 978-963-13-6305-0
György Merényi Zsolnay építészeti kerámia az Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia korában
Summary in English
Budapest : Vince Kiadó ISBN: 978-963-303-065-3
Zsombor Jékely (ed.) Ödön Lechner in context : studies of the international conference on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Ödön Lechner's death

Budapest : Museum of Applied Arts ISBN: 978-615-5217-21-0
Network News Budapest

At the Threshold of a New Era The complex development and re-foundation of the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest Opened in 1896, the museum building is one of the chief works of visionary architect Ödön Lechner, who created a new style in architecture. Unfortunately, the building was severely damaged during the wars of the twentieth… Read more »

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Exhibition, Network News Budapest

After several years of closure, the György Ráth Villa of the Museum of Applied Arts (1068 Budapest, Városligeti fasor 12.) can be visited again from 14 September 2018, where a new permanent exhibition titled Art Nouveau – a Hungarian Perspective, displaying the finest selection of the Museum of Applied Arts’ Art Nouveau collection, can be visited.… Read more »

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Exhibition, Network News Budapest

The architecture of Albert Kálmán Kőrössy Albert Kálmán Kőrössy is an undeservedly forgotten figure in the history of Hungarian architecture around 1900 who cannot be categorised as a follower of Ödön Lechner’s form language of Hungarian character. Although over the past few decades his name was largely forgotten by the wider public, his works can… Read more »

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