Current Issue

Editorial | N° 01 / 2021

A New Journal and the Meanings of ‘East Central’ Europe

ABSTRACT

We are proud to launch Art East Central as a journal that will act as a forum for scholarly articles and discussion on the art, architecture and design of East Central Europe since 1800. It will be the only such journal in English, and its aim is to disseminate knowledge and stimulate debate about the art and culture of a large geographical region that, for many, remains terra incognita.

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Article | N° 01 / 2021

Faces of Modernism after Trianon: Károly Kós, Lajos Kozma and Neo-Baroque Design in Interwar Hungary

ABSTRACT

In comparing the careers of Károly Kós and Lajos Kozma between c. 1907 and 1930, this article explores the impact of the First World War and its aftermath on the work of two leading Hungarian architect-designers. These circumstances not only affected their working practices and professional opportunities, but also reflected changes in taste, theory and the source materials of Hungarian domestic design. While Kós clung ever more desperately to the values that shaped his pre-war practice, Kozma embarked on a new direction embracing the Neo-Baroque, a style that emerged with distinctive regional characteristics in many of the successor states of Central Europe in the 1920s. The article discusses some of the sources and meanings of this style.

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Article | N° 01 / 2021

Karel Čapek’s Graphic Britain: A study of the Visual Intermodernism of Čapek’s Letters from England

ABSTRACT

Best known as a science-fiction writer, Karel Čapek’s drawings from his 1924 tour of Great Britain are here analysed in terms of what is categorised as ‘intermodernism.’ As an integral part of the travelogue he published in English as Letters from England, they are seen as coordinates for navigating identity, detailing, through their construction and composition of lines, a subtle and perceptive understanding of difference and unity. That they are biographical as well as ostensibly documentary is conveyed through exploring the development of their visual language and its blending of modernist and historic conventions. Simultaneously, their assessment of society and nature is revealed as a nuanced explication of community and place. Čapek’s visual journey beyond the country of his birth is evaluated in terms of the meanings to be found in the acute, quirky and ironic nature of his drawings. Ultimately, the distinctions in form, seeing and understanding are revealed in terms of Čapek’s non-canonical, synthetic and humanist intermodernism.

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Article | N° 01 / 2021

Lost in Translation? The Idea of the Garden City and its Migration to the Czech Lands, 1900–1938

ABSTRACT

The article is the first introduction to the garden city movement in the Czech lands. The dynamic transformations of its trajectory are highlighted by selected upheavals. It spans from its cautious beginnings in the first decade of the twentieth century to its climax in the 1920s, and a singular appropriation of the urban vision by the Czechoslovak government in the 1930s. Encompassing the turbulent era, the way in which the garden city utopia was approached exposes not only implementation of the modern urban concept but also the constant response to political transformations underlined by Czech and Germans conflicts in what was to become interwar Czechoslovakia.

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Article | N° 01 / 2021

Lajos Vajda and the Russian Idea of Universalism

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on the problem of interpreting Lajos Vajda’s Icon Self-Portrait Pointing Upward (1936) while attempting to rethink the artist’s relationship to the ideas of Russian religious philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948). In one of his letters dedicated to Júlia Richter, his future wife, Vajda wrote that Berdyaev’s book entitled The New Middle Ages had greatly influenced his thinking. Through it, he became acquainted with the notion of universalism – the synthesis between East and West as part of a critique of Western individualism and positivism – which would gain in popularity in the early twentieth century. Based on the proximity between the dates of the letter and the time that Vajda formulated his so-called ‘Szentendre Programme,’ this article argues that the establishment of the Programme was directly influenced by Berdyaev’s thinking. Consequently, it suggests that Icon Self-Portrait Pointing Upward can be read as a summary of Vajda’s thoughts on culture as renewable through the synthesis of ‘two types of European man.’ From this perspective, Vajda’s criticism of Western individualism leads to a re-thinking of his relationship both to European modernism and to conservative artistic and cultural ideas. This article connects all these broader questions to the interpretation of Icon Self-Portrait Pointing Upward, offering new directions in research into this enigmatic key work and masterpiece.

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Book review | N° 01 / 2021

Understanding Greek Art History

A Review of: Evgenios Matthiopoulos, ed. Art History in Greece: Selected Essays, Athens: Melissa, 2018.

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Book review | N° 01 / 2021

A World of its Own? Art History in Prague

A Review of: Jakub Bachtik, Richard Biegel and Roman Prahl, eds, Století Ústavu pro dějiny umění na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Karlovy, Prague: Charles University, 2020.

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Book review | N° 01 / 2021

Women and the Wiener Werkstätte

A Review of: Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Anne-Katrin Rossberg, and Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, eds, Women Artists of the Viennese Workshops, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2020.

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Book review | N° 01 / 2021

Abstraction in Hungary

A Review of: Mária Árvai, Zsóka Leposa, Enikö Róka, Ulrich Winkler, eds, Lajos Barta, Überlebensstrategien, Budapest: Kiscelli Museum, 2019, and Márta Branczik and Zsóka Leposa, eds, Sonderwege, Karl-Heinz Adler und die ungarische Abstraktion, Budapest: Kiscelli Museum and Kassak Museum 2017

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