ABOUT ART NOUVEAU
A new art that was, at the turning point between the nineteenth and the twentieth century, inspired by the tumult of industrialization, urbanization and the rapidly changing society, protesting against the strict canons of historicism and dominant styles. Therefore, Art Nouveau didn’t seek inspiration in previous epochs and art movements, but rather looked for ideas in nature, its forms and structure. Art Nouveau has left its mark on all forms of art and all areas of modern life. Art Nouveau is not just an art movement - it is a way of life. The main features of Art Nouveau architecture are wild, unrestrained forms full of curved lines, wavy shapes and unusual color combinations. Emphasized asymmetry and use of new materials and new construction techniques provided buildings a certain plasticity and sophisticated, sometimes even exaggerated, décor of the Art Nouveau ornament - playfulness. Geometric and floral motifs as well as images of women – have become favorite design elements of architects throughout Europe. Although international in its core, in different regions, amplified by national feelings, it manifested itself in different forms. In Austria it was known as the Vienna Secession, in Germany as Jugendstil, in France and Belgium as Art Nouveau, in England as Modern Style, in Italy as Liberty style and in the Austro - Hungarian Empire - Secession.
ART NOUVEAU in Subotica
At the turn of the nineteenth and the twentieth century, the boiling events in Europe in the fields of art, science and life arrived via Budapest to Subotica as well - at that time, two cities within the same country. It was a period of peace and economic prosperity, when Subotica was at the peak of its architectural development. Changes that originated in Europe slowly found their way in Subotica’s architecture as well, but were further developed in two directions, in two distinct currents. While one current gravitated toward European cities such as Munich, Vienna, Paris and London, the other, more dominant one, turned to the national, Hungarian version of Art Nouveau- Secession. Although the European current was more abundant, the Hungarian version, with only few buildings, yet exceptional for their location, size and purpose, dominates Subotica and makes it worthy of the name City of Secession. These buildings are, of course, the City Hall, the Synagogue, the Raichle Palace, banks...
Hungarian avant-garde artists, like their European counterparts, believed that industrial development leads to annihilation of beauty and that art should be introduced into everyday life, in accordance with vernacular architecture and tradition and usage of local materials. In search of national characteristics, studying folklore art and vernacular architecture, Hungarian version of Art Nouveau introduced a specific and unique architectural language.
Despite all the skills, abilities, knowledge and travels of local architects, it was only through engagement of architects from Budapest and other cities that the metropolitan spirit of new trends altered Subotica’s architecture. Prominent examples should be noted here, such as the duo Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab, Ferenc Raichle, brothers Vágó, Pál Vadász as well as the local architects who embraced the change, such as Titus Mačković or Mátyás Salgo.
A strong support of citizens and a great inspiration of architects, artists and craftsmen who built numerous Art Nouveau structures, in Subotica and the nearby Palic, have all together created buildings which, even after one century, still remain as equally beautiful, attractive and intriguing.
Unlike many European cities, the center of Subotica is not dominated by a cathedral or a church, but by a City Hall. Because of its location, size and ornate architecture of Hungarian Art Nouveau, the City Hall has become a landmark, the center and the symbol of Subotica.
It was built between 1908 and 1910, with the interior decoration completed in 1912. It extends over an area of nearly 6000 m² with 16000 m² of gross floor area. The tower is 76 meters high with a belvedere at the height of 45.5 meters and an unforgettable view of Subotica and its surrounding. The City Hall was designed by Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab, prominent architects from Budapest.
The City Hall has a symmetrical layout with four inner courtyards/atriums and four entrances. On the north side, where there is a beautiful park and the Blue Fountain, there is a vestibule with a ceremonial staircase carved in marble, leading to the first representative floor. On that floor there are three Halls - Green and Yellow, used by the Grand Prefect and now the Mayor and a third one, central, largest and most beautiful – Grand Hall, which forms the very heart of Subotica’s City Hall. Grand Hall is used for meetings of the City Assembly, concerts, weddings and important events. It boasts sixteen remarkable stained glass windows in shimmering colors by Miksa Róth and Sándor Nagy who is also the author of six stained glass windows in the side apses, all of which are considered to be exceptional works of art. The City Hall, with its modern concept and in accordance with contemporary requirements, even today satisfies many of the city’s needs. It contains the Mayor’s Cabinet, City Administration offices and municipal services, historical archives, boutiques, banks... Functionality and modernity, as well as the synthesis of various art disciplines - architecture, painting and applied arts are probably the most important value of this building, but what leaves visitors breathless is certainly its lavish ornamentation. Art Nouveau decoration is here enriched with a distinct romantic note of Hungarian folklore through patterns of stylized flowers as well as ceramic and wrought iron floral jewelry. Carved wood, brass fittings, lamps, ceramic eosin tiles, all contribute to the artistic value and extravagance of this unique building.
Opening hours for individual tourists:
Tuesday - Saturday: at 12h
Starting point: ceremonial entrance to City Hall
Entrance Fee: RSD 150 - Grand Hall, RSD 150 - viewpoint
KOMOR AND JAKAB
In 1897, architects Marcell Komor (1868-1944) and Dezső Jakab (1864- 1932) joined forces and opened an architectural bureau in Budapest. The duo has designed buildings throughout Hungary until the end of the war in 1918. They were students and followers of the founder of the Hungarian version of Art Nouveau – Ödön Lechner. Marcell Komor was the lead partner, in charge of the concept of the building, organization of space, function and construction, while Dezső Jakab handled interior design part and meticulously planned everything, down to the smallest detail. Although the scope of their work in Subotica isn’t particularly large, each one of their buildings became a symbol: Synagogue, Subotica Savings Bank Palace (now Korzo Street no. 4), City Hall, and a large complex of buildings in Palić – Water Tower, Grand Terrace, Women’s Lido and Memorial Fountain.
FERENC RAICHLE FAMILY PALACE
Architect Raichle Ferenc chose one of the most beautiful sites in Subotica for his future home and office. Working for himself only and following his heart’s desire, he dismissed all established rules and patterns in designing and created a building that is the envy of many. Raichle Family Palace is the first thing visitors see as they first arrive in Subotica by train, and it immediately dazzles them with its forms, decoration and splashes them with its unusual colors.
The monumental entrance to the palace is withdrawn into a part of the façade and represents a stylized, upside down heart. The main wrought iron gate is also heartshaped. Decoration of balcony railings on the first floor, even more lavish than the one on the ground floor - contains a stylized heart motif. The ubiquitous heart motif, whether made of ceramics, murano mosaic, wrought iron, carved wood or moldings – is always presented in a new and original way. Raichle finished his home in 1904, in a Hungarian version of Art Nouveau, inspired by Transylvanian folk art, its brightly colored farmhouses, lacelike carved wooden gates, motifs of garden flowers and ofcourse – shape of the heart.
The palace was functional and comfortable for family life. Raichle’s architectural office was on the ground floor, and on the first floor here was a large dining room with a winter garden - which also served as a ballroom, a smoking lounge for men - decorated as a Turkish room, a salon for women, one bedroom, one bathroom, a dressing room and a children’s room – avant-garde at the time. Raichle did not enjoy his home for long because he went bankrupt only four years after moving in, and his palace, complete with furniture, luxurious items and works of art, was sold at an auction. Today, it is a home of a Gallery of Modern Art Subotica while the courtyard is a part of a famous cafe. Left of the main entrance is Raichle’s Tenement Palace, with its size, decoration and colors relating to the Family palace, albeit on a far more modest scale.
Tuesday - Friday : 8h - 19h
Saturday : 9h - 13h
Entrance fee: RSD 100 for individual tourists, RSD 50 for groups
Ferenc Raichle (1869-1960) graduated architecture in Budapest and moved to Subotica in 1896. Partially giving in to the preferences of clients, his first projects were not designed in the Art Nouveau style. Although without much luck in Subotica architectural competitions, he designed various public and private buildings: the building of today’s City Library, Grammar School building, building of the former Austro-Hungarian Bank (now D. Tucović Street no. 15) and many others. Raichle was a bon vivant; he enjoyed life and the love of his family. He generously spent money on travels, art, luxurious materials for his palace - which was one of the reasons why he went bankrupt in 1908. He then left Subotica and spent four years in Szeged, only to finally settle down in Budapest.
He continued to work as an architect, recovered from bankruptcy and enjoyed the beauties of life and art until old age.
For its Synagogue, Subotica’s Jewish Community chose the design that won second prize in the Szeged synagogue architectural competition, thus making Subotica a home to one of the most beautiful synagogues in this part of Europe - as Subotica’s citizens like to say. The Synagogue was built 1902, according to the project of Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab. In addition to its undisputable artistic and aesthetic value, it is exceptional because it is the only Synagogue in Europe which contains elements of the Hungarian Art Nouveau. Typical of this style, floral decoration in the form of a peacock feather, tulips, stylized roses or lilies are represented on the façade as well as in the interior, on stained glass windows and painted walls. The stained glass windows were made in Miksa Róth’s studio in Budapest and façade decoration and roof tiles in the Pécs Zsolnay ceramics factory. The interior, designed like a tent, evokes the Old Testament times, and the bright harmony of colors was meant to stir feelings of joy. Another aspect of Subotica’s Synagogue should be emphasized: its avantgarde construction, the harmony between its construction and decoration and the intertwining of its function and form.
The Synagogue was able to receive up to 1600 people, 850 men on the ground floor and 550 women on the gallery. Valid testaments of its size are its dimensions: height of the interior space is 23 meters, and the diameter of the dome is 12.6 meters. The external height of the building is 40 meters. After World War II, a small number of surviving Jews from Subotica could neither fill nor maintain the building. In 1976, the Synagogue became property of the city. At the end of the eighties, many theater performances were held in the Synagogue. After the completion of the reconstruction in 2018 the building became one of the most popular tourist sight in Subotica.
Tuesday - Friday: 10h - 18h
Saturday - Sunday: 10h - 14h
Entrance fee: RSD 250 for individual tourists, RSD 150 for groups
MIKSA DÖMÖTÖR TENEMENT PALACE
Former owners and tenants of this palace have left a significant mark in medicine, journalism, entrepreneurship and art of Subotica. In 1906, the project for the palace was commissioned from Budapest architects, the Vágó brothers József and László – by Dr. Miksa Dömötör - a physician and a multitalented intellectual. Dömötör palace was one of the first tenement palaces with geometric elements of the Viennese version of Art Nouveau – Vienna Secession in Subotica.
In this palace there was a printing company for six decades and in 2008, the palace was reconstructed and from then on it has been the home of the City Museum of Subotica.
The architecture of Vágó brothers is always adorned with bird motifs, as it can be seen on this building. The most noticeable element is the decorative wrought iron balcony railing with two birds facing each other.
Tuesday - Saturday: 10h - 18h
Entrance fee: RSD 150
SUBOTICA SAVINGS BANK PALACE
This building, in the Hungarian Art Nouveau style, was designed by Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab, after the Synagogue and just before the City Hall, in 1907. It used to be the only bank in the city’s main street. In addition to the bank, there was a restaurant and on the upper floors, apartments. The main purpose of this building can be easily recognized by the symbols on the façade: a squirrel - symbol of diligence, a beehive - symbol of frugality, an owl - symbol of wisdom.
The façade is bent around the corner, and the upper floor part is embellished with decorative ceramic elements inspired by folk art motifs, and stone carvings, which was a rarity in Subotica’s architecture and its frugal citizens.
This building was the first one in Subotica to use large glass surfaces instead of a massive, closed ground floor. However, the greatest value of this building is simply in its beauty, in the fact that its every color, every detail, every ornament is well thought of and balanced.
TOWN TENEMENT PALACE
The Town Tenement Palace was designed in the spirit of Vienna Secession with such creativity that it stands out from all the other palaces in the city. Its author, architect Pál Vadász, using a modern concept, and simplified forms, construction and choice of materials, designed this aesthetically valuable and exceptional building. The calmness of an ascetic, geometric Art Nouveau is softened by human figures on a gold background (below the angular tower), unobtrusive mosaics with stylized birds (at the bottom of the bay window) and wrought iron masks (above the entrance door) – which is a direct influence of Viennese painters and architects from the turn of the century.
Branislava Nušića 2
Art Nouveau buildings, especially the ones in the Hungarian variant - Secession style, were abundantly decorated with pottery that made modern and functional buildings more refined, made them welcoming and warm. Ceramic factory Zsolnay from Pécs in Hungary, of the owner Miklós Zsolnay and later of his son Vilmos, was established in 1852. Zsolnay has launched new kinds of ceramics and coatings. Pirogránit, which is the common name for all ceramics for outdoor use that can handle large fluctuations in temperature, covers many roofs and decorates many façades of Art Nouveau buildings in Subotica. More recently, at the end of the twentieth century, Zsolnay ceramics was used for the Green and the Blue Fountain in the city center.
Due to a special process of making porcelain, first patented in the Zsolnay factory, another novelty was created - eosin, a coating often described as the light of dawn. Tiles and elements in eosin can be seen on the City Hall’s ceremonial staircase.
Zsolnay ceramics passed the exam of quality, because even after a century, the material did not lose the magic of its color. Even today, Zsolnay ceramics looks new, with its lushness and lively forms.
SIMEON LEOVIĆ TENEMENT PALACE
Art Nouveau first arrived in Subotica with the construction of Simeon Leović Tenement Palace, in 1893. Some of the characteristics of this style such as: dismissal of old forms, proportions adjusted to people, asymmetry and new materials - can be found on this building. The architects who designed the building were the forerunners of the new style, Art Nouveau – namely, its Hungarian version, Secession. They were the two most famous Hungarian architects, Ödön Lechner and his associate Gyula Pártos.
Park Rajhla Ferenca 11
SALAMON SONNENBERG TENEMENT PALACE
Both Sonnenberg palaces were built in 1910, and designed by Izidor Strassburger and Lajos Gombos. The palace in Ðure Ðakovic Street (today the Hungarian Consulate General) is one of the finest examples of Hungarian Art Nouveau. Flamboyantly colored plant patterns on decorative elements of Zsolnay ceramics are an echo of Hungarian folk patterns. The façade of the other palace was designed in a simpler manner, under the influence of Vienna Secession, but with decorative elements of Hungarian Art Nouveau.
Đure Đakovića 3 i Matije Korvina 10
GOLDEN LAMB HOTEL
The facade of the Golden Lamb Hotel building from nineteenth century was adapted in the style of Munich version of Art Nouveau - Jugendstil, in 1904. by the local architect Titus Mačković. During the eighties of the last century, the building was demolished and a new one, modeled after the original building and was built on its place. For many years, the local army club was located in this gentle looking building.
HUNGARIAN GENERAL CREDIT BANK PALACE
Although large in size with its excellent location, the former bank building - compared to the City Hall, the spacious square and a monumental theater, in its vicinity- remains unnoticed. The bank was built in 1911 in the geometric style of Vienna Secession, designed by the Budapest architect Alfréd Hajós.
Trg Republike 2
JÓZSEF ROZNOFSZKY TENEMENT PALACE
The palace was designed by the Subotica architect Titus Mačković in 1909. It is the only two storey building and the only Art Nouveau building in the street. The façade of this palace, as well as other Art Nouveau buildings designed by Mačković, were inspired by the Vienna Secession and Darmstadt Art Nouveau, although not directly but through the works of the Vágó brothers, architects from Budapest.
DUŠAN STOJKOVIĆ PALACE
Although the palace was initially designed and built back in the early nineteenth century, architect Géza Kocka is the one responsible for its present-day appearance. Even though he was the most faithful representative of the NeoRenaissance in Subotica, in 1907 he designed this façade in the Vienna Secession style. In addition to abundant Art Nouveau ornaments, an interesting part is the bay window at the corner of the building, which is held and embraced by a giant shell. After the renovation, the palace was given a new function and it became a restaurant.
Trg Republike 10
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN BANK PALACE
This massive ground-floor building which gives the impression of security and stability was designed by Ferenc Raichle in 1901. The influence of Art Nouveau on the building
can be seen in the multitude of decorative elements such as women figures, head of Mercury, sunflower blossoms, a hive, a door handle in the shape of sphinx – which symbolically conveyed the message of wealth, safety and secrecy.
Dimitrija Tucovića 15
ART NOUVEAU IN PALIĆ
Palić Lake and the settlement of the same name are located 8 kilometers east of Subotica. Palić gained fame as a spa resort and elite summer destination at the end of the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the task of spa expansion and renovation was appointed to architects Marcell Komor and Dezső Jakab, who designed Subotica’s City Hall and Synagogue. The ensemble of Palić buildings that belong to the Hungarian Art Nouveau movement was inspired by Transylvanian folk art and opened in 1912. Parts of this ensemble are the Water Tower, the Grand Terrace, the Women’s Lido, the Music Pavilion and the Memorial Fountain.
Each of these structures is different, depending on the function but also the choice of materials, construction and the Palić red color - they are all of the same style. Komor and Jakab brought the idea of connecting architecture and atmosphere of the Grand Park to perfection. Thus, dismissing the classical arrangement of buildings in succession, down the street or a promenade, which we often pass by but don’t really notice-here we physically pass through the Water Tower and the Grand Terrace. By applying these passages, porches and terraces, the strict border between the outer and inner space is lost. Intertwining of nature, architecture and interior design is probably the greatest value of these Art Nouveau buildings.
All these buildings have become symbols of Palić. The unusual architecture of these buildings intended for relaxation and recreation, attracts and invites visitors even after more than a hundred years.
The symbol of a peacock, which the Water Tower represents in its shape, stands as an early Christian symbol of resurrection. It was chosen to represent a new beginning of the future spa.
Designed as a multifunctional building, it maintained a similar function until present-day. On the upper floor there was a luxurious ballroom. On the ground floor were restaurants and a pastry shops and nowadays it is a modern Congress Center.
At the time when the Lido was constructed, different social standards were effective: women had to hide from prying eyes while swimming in the lake.
The smallest Art Nouveau building - the Music Pavillion, was and still is used as a place for promenade concerts.
The memorial fountain was built in honor of the completion of all Art Nouveau buildings in Palić, and it is a focal point of a view from under the Water Tower, through the Grand Terrace and to the lake.
Two large blue vases made from Zsolnay ceramics depicting the Water god, standing in front of two hotels in the Grand Park, were placed in 1910 as a gift of the owner of the Pécs Zsolnay ceramics factory to Palić and Subotica.
SUBOTICA TOURIST ORGANIZATION
Tourist organization of Subotica issued this brochure to promote the tourist offer and inform tourists. The information contained in the brochure are gathered in good faith, relaying on the available information. Therefore, the Tourist Organization of Subotica cannot guarantee that the published information are necessarily comprehensive, accurate, complete or up to date.
Put secesije = Art nouveau route / autor: Turistička organizacija grada Subotica; fotografije: Turistička organizacija grada Subotice - Subotica, 2020 (Subotica: Birografika MB doo). - 24 str. : fotogr. u bojama ; 21cm
Uporedo srp. tekst i engl. prevod. - Tiraž 5.000. ISBN-978-86-89781-25-0