József ROZSNYAI (architectural historian, assistant professor / Pázmány Péter Catholic University)
There are many indications that Art Nouveau is doing just as well in the Great Hungarian Plain as poppy plants and gray marten. The completion of Ödön LECHNER’s center in Kecskemét in 1897 marked the beginning of an important Art Nouveau movement in this area. In 1902, LECHNER summarized his architectural manifesto to the public in Szeged, another town of the Great Hungarian Plain, in which he attributed great significance to the region itself. In the meantime, the first followers of LECHNER’s Art Nouveau appeared, who designed mostly for this region: in the last years of the 19th century, new hotels were designed for Szentes and Szatmárnémeti, and a new synagogue for Szeged. Outside of Budapest, the Great Plain was the only place where urban budgets have contributed to such an early application of the Hungarian style directly linked to LECHNER. The remarkably quick appearance of the new architectural language was followed by its fast spreading: by 1915, a large number of public buildings and residential houses were built in the style across the region. So many, that the Great Hungarian Plain became the only agricultural region in Europe that stands out for its Art Nouveau architecture. The mystery of the booming Art Nouveau architecture of the Great Plain inspired Katalin KESERÜ and Ján GERLE to synthesize and conceptualize the phenomenon. The 18 authors who collaborated on this edition – art and local historians from Vojvodina, Partium, and Hungary – contributed new buildings, attributes and reviews in order to fine-tune our established knowledge on the topic.