The beautiful building, built in Art Nouveau style, also houses the School of Applied Arts
Budapest Museum of Applied Arts
Address: 9th district, Üllői út 33-37
How to get there: Metro M3 to Ferenc körút, Trams 4, 6
Open: 10am-4pm Tue-Sun from Jan 1-13 March, 10am-6pm during the rest of the year
With sister institutions in London (1857) and Vienna (1864), the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts was the third museum of its kind in Europe (1872). The collection, which started out mainly with furniture (to be displayed on the World Exhibition in Vienna), was placed around the staircase of the National Museum between 1874 and 1877, and then moved to the building of the Old Art Gallery (Sugár út 69). Since 1896, the ever-increasing collection is housed in a beautiful building, built in Art Nouveau style, designed by Odön Lechner for this very purpose, as well as housing the School of Applied Arts, that had been founded in 1880.
The hall of the main entrance gate is fabulously decorated; the dome is decorated with Zsolnay ceramics. Inside paintings (by Károly Miksa Reissmann) survived in two rooms and the wind-block hall. Damages caused by the Second World War (most heavily on the open hall of the main entrance, the main dome, the glass hall and the corner dome on Hogyes street) were restored in 1949.
Masterpieces of European applied arts from the Middle Ages till today form the core of the collection, arranged in the categories of object, material and craft. The permanent exhibitions include a furniture collection, a fine metalwork collection, a ceramics and glassware a collection of textiles and garments, as well as some minor collections, such as artistic book bindings, graphic illustrations, "ex-libris" bookplates, leather goods, bone and wood carvings, garment accessories and toys.
The furniture collection consists of nearly four thousand items, mainly pieces of proper furniture, but also other types of woodwork, such as honey-cake moulds, blue-dyeing plates, figurines, etc. The time frame of the collection spans nearly seven centuries, from the 14th to the 20th. Hungarian pieces include entire furnishings of specific historical buildings, such as the Cardinal's library in Sümeg, or the refectory in Trencsén. The French section stands out with its part on the 18th century, including a desk from the workshop of Andre Charles Boulle, a lacquered Rococo commode made by Adrien-Faizelot Delorme, and a table once belonging to Francois Gaspard Teuné. Outstanding English furniture designers, represented by their work of art in the exhibition, are Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, and Thomas Sheraton. From the 19th and 20th centuries, several outstanding pieces represent the Art Noveau with linear forms and often abstract motifs, as well as the more naturalistic ornamentation of the time, with floral patterns. Pieces from Vienna display the "constructive Jugendstil". The collection of musical instruments include a good number of pianos, along with a few French harps.
The fine metalwork collection is subdivided into nine sections, and counts about ten thousands pieces, produced mainly by foreign artists, and in a smaller part by Hungarian craftsmen. The pre-Renaissance period is represented by just a few special pieces. The Baroque period can be observed through the wealth of treasures in the Esterházy collection. The precious metalwork section includes a particularly rich collection of Vienesse silver. Art Nouveau jewels are also present, pieces by Rene Lalique and Oszkár Tarján (Huber). There are objects with decorative functions of the same style, such as pieces by the French sculptor Jules Paul Brateau, and the Hungarian artist Fülöp Ö. Beck. The Renaissance period can be followed along on large plates, decorated with Biblical scenes or objects of daily use, and on relics of guildsmen's jugs. The bronze collection includes chandeliers, pestles, urns and small bells, as well as statuette. A large number and type of clocks are also on display, wall and table clocks, traveling clocks, portable sundials and hourglasses, as well as various pocket-watches. Emperor Maximilian, the Second, once owned an astronomical clock. The Eastern Orthodox collection consists of fine icons, a number of treasured items.
The ceramics and glassware collection consists of about 25.000 pieces, which is more than one fourth of the entire material. Classifications of raw materials guide the larger sections: the faience, the porcelain, the stoneware, and the glassware, followed by a separate collection of stoves and stove tiles. The art of faience in Hungary dates back to the Hutterite (also known as Haban) communities, who settled in the area in the last third of the 16th century. Ornamenting on the items often blends Renaissance flower patterns with floral motifs of Turkish-Persian origin, using white, blue, or, less frequently, yellow base colors. József Esterházy established a manufacture in Tata, in 1758, based on Holics traditions. The European porcelain division is the largest by far, consisting of almost 5.500 items, originally coming from Vienna, Meissen, Scandinavia, as well as St. Petersburg, and spanning the entire history of porcelain making in Hungary, displaying items made in Herend and Zsolna. The glassware collection has an outstanding division, which traces the history of this particular art in Hungary. The 18th century Silesian ware features Schwarzlot-painting. Decorative glassware from the 19th century demonstrates Revival and Art Nouveau styles, the collection is outstanding both in terms size and value.
The collection of textiles and garments presents a comprehensive picture of virtually every important technique used by the craft, from Roman times to the 20th century. The earliest pieces, silk from Lucca and Venice, date back to the 13th and 14th century. German demi-silk materials complement these. Renaissance velvets and brocades follow, later giving way to Baroque and Rococo brocades from France. The final section presents relics of 19th century silk weaving; mainly form Germany, Austria and Hungary. Laces form another distinct category of the collection, and include each and every type of sewn and bobbin lace of artistic value. The embroidery collection is also beautiful, although not as complete as the lace collection. The Roman period is represented by a handful of fragments, while the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods are traced by dominantly Italian and German pieces, complemented by Hungarian „aristocratic” embroidery from the 16th and 17th centuries, such as embroidery, lacework and beads from Esterházy-family’s wardrobe. The tapestry collection presents Biblical and mythological compositions, while the textile collection displays Oriental, as well as Turkish carpets, some dating back to the 15th century.
Minor collections include the world's largest bookplate collection, medieval devotional objects, along with ivory pieces, 16th century caskets, Baroque statuettes, 18th century boxes, tobacco files and Art Nouveau figurines. Leather-made objects include cases, embroidered purses and wallets, bags, shoes, gloves, tinted chasubles, as well as book covers. The collection of 250 fans span history from the 1700s to the twentieth century. The toy section, small as it is, includes an artistically executed leather-covered checker board, made from ivory and wood, several antique cards, along with Empire-style paper dolls.