Szecessziós magazin
Szecessziós magazin

Friends of the Museum
(click on the picture to color it)


va Csenkey, the previous manager of the Pottery Section of the Museum of Applied Arts, an expert of the Zsolnay ceramics, recently presented the most important items of the Zsolnay exhibitions. The invitation came from Gyorgy Matyasfalvi, a member of the Museum Circle of Friends (which was founded in 1913, but it is still open to new applicants); whom we`d like to thank for the invitation once again.


The above pieces and other valued artworks are not frequently displayed, only presented on special events organized by the Museum of Applied Arts, this time for the Circle of Friends and those with similar interests. Till next time – which we are hoping will be very soon – here is a summary of the exciting and interesting presentation of Eva Csenkey, including images of some of the pieces and thoughts of the expert.


hen the exhibition organized by Eva Csenkey in 1985 in Faenza, the International Pottery Museum, opened under the name: Hungarian Secession Pottery Art, The Zsolnay Ceramics, this vase covered the front page of the catalogue. This pioneer exhibition helped rediscover the Zsolnay ceramics which more exhibitions followed nearly everywhere in the World.



ozsef Rippl-Ronai designed many tulip vases (click on the first picture for the series of Rippl-Ronai tulip vases), which they carried out in Pecs. The vase above is most probably a collective work with the Zsolnay designers, one of the rummest, the most beautiful, and probably a great example of the Art Nouveau. An Organic union of a vase and a flower, a blossoming, a blooming vase...

Which one is nicer? The warm colour or the colder blue? Well, that depends on the lighting.


ocational details: vase, with tulip leaves and flowers. White tile. Cast shape, with applied and freely moulded details. Two types of opaque, painted with metallic eosin coating. The surface is acid pickled, matte. Design: 1899. Shape: 8. Façon-book, 5530 drawing Height: 23cm, rim: 8cm, orifice: 8,5cm. The collection of Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, ltsz. 21.993. from the collection of Wartha Vince


he Masters of Art Nouveau exhibition which was a great success in Rome as well, displayed Europe`s finest artworks of the time (and will continue to be presented till autumn). Here we must show you one more piece, one of the Massier type glassware made by lustre technique; these types of works won many World Fairs and brought plenty gold medals back home. The only „issue” is that it is difficult to show the lustre technique through pictures or even on a film... Click the image below for a scale-up and more details to enjoy.



On a purple-red base, a shiny green lustre paint, light purple, green motives. Here is a brief description of the second image below: finely painted and pickled, matte greyish green base darker violet and blue lilies, butterflies.

Two different descriptions of the same item and two different perspectives. Both could be true. Yet the real experience you get when you see this masterpiece live, walking towards the object, it may seem different in every angle, showing various colours and shapes. A still cannot give you the same experience.



Vocational details: Ornament plate with lilies and butterflies. Artist: Massier, Pierre Clement (1845-1917). Time of making: 1895 – 1900. Place of making: Golfe Juan. Technique: metal lustre, moderately burnt above the coating; acid pickled. Proportions: height: 5, 5 cm, diameter: 62, 5 cm. Collection of The Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest


he historism was not copying but creating. The firm sentence, that was included in Eva Csenkey`s evaluation of the art of the last few decades of the XIX century, which was a creative process rather than simply assembling the known styles and patterns, like many used to believe. The variety of objects placed on the shelves clearly proves this.

Vilmos Zsolnay`s historism between the period of 1875 and 1883 with its continuous learning and experimenting reshaped the beauty of the human applied arts, the masterpieces of the chinaware, as well as the folklore specialities. However he also searched the forgotten and exotic craft techniques and art mysteries. Accordingly he experimented with the colourful coating that changes its colours in reduced fire.

The designers of the Zsolnay factory were not only inspired by the historic art, where the floral style was set out, but the symbolic Art Nouveau wave in the last few years of the century. The phrasing of this modern style was characterised by the nature themed designs, emotions, cravings and the analogical thinking. (If you`d like to know more about this, then we highly recommend the Eva Csenkey book, by the name Zsolnay, the Secession ceramics, Helikon publisher, Budapest, 2000)


he presentation ended in the courtyard of the Museum of Applied Arts. Here today you can see the building`s lantern, all designed by Odon Lechner and Gyula Partos. (Click for the images)



In November 2010, the building became life-threatening, due to its state and needed a direct, emergency intervention. The decoration of the dome, the 11 metres tall, couple of tonnes heavy lantern had to be removed by a crane and placed here. Click on the images above for the fine details of this masterpiece designed by Odon Lechner.