Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We Sold Our House!!!!

Right house; right neighborhood; right time; right realtor, Carl Horton of Semonin; lots of luck.  We got three offers in the first 48 hours.  Unbelievable.  We now have signed contract with all contingencies met.  We close in about three weeks!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Prater ut: A HIstory of Budapest in One Street

Prater ut is a street located near Corvin Negyed, also called Corvin Lane, connects with Ferenc Korut.  In the early 1900s, when the first houses were built this area would have been on the outskirts of the city.  At the head of the street is a beautiful building by Kalman Karossy, who built the beautiful Art Nouveau house that was the subject of my first blogpost during this trip to Budapest.  This building is not as grand, but it is nevertheless lovely, and shows the ambitions of Hungarian citizens.

Very near the Karossy building is one of the most charming monuments in Budapest: a depiction of the novel The Paul Street Boys, written by Ferenc Molnar in 1906.  It is one of the most beloved novels in Hungary, telling the story of The Paul Street gang of boys who fight for an empty lot in their neighborhood, which they call "The Fatherland," and defend their ground against another gant called the RedShirts.  It is a novel which had special relevance for Hungarians both in World War II and in the 1956 Rebellion. 

Turning to the other side of the street, one sees buildings that have been damaged in particularly violent ways.  The area around the beginning of Prater ut was one of the places where some of the heaviest fighting during the 1956 rebellionn took place.  And it was here that particularly young men, many of whom were students, gathered to fight and defend.  The bullet holes are still apparent.

Proceeding down Prater ut one finds older buildings that escaped bullets but were still the victims of age and disrepair.  Nevertheless, as one looks carefully, she can find hints of the decorative richness of these houses.

Leda and the Swan

Bricks designed as faces

Back at the begining of Prater ut, in Corvin Lane, one finds many memorials to those killed in 1956.  The young boy at the beginning of this post is one of them.

#Prater ut  #Kalman Korossy #Paul Street Boys #Hungarian Revolution 1956 #decaying Budapest buildings

Monday, April 11, 2016

Homes: Miklos Ligeti--Where He Lived and Where He Died

Miklos Ligeti Home and Studio. Stefania ut 20.
I have returned from Budapet with homes much on my mind.  We are getting ready to sell our house of 27 years and move into a small condominium. While I was in Budapest, I also thought a lot about homes.  I have always been interested not only in the architectural history of the houses I admired, but was also in those who lived there.  This year, I found a new guidebook that offered some of that information.  Reading the abbreviated histories of several houses and their occupants made me want to find more.  And as I have been writing my own book about Hungarian architecture, I have tried, to the extent possible, to locate the names of original owners.  I also became interested in finding the houses of people whose lives, for one reason or another, interested me.  (This was the incentive to find one of the Neuschloss homes at Apostol utca 13b--surprisingly, my most popular post.)

I have documented in this blog my growing interest in the sculptor Miklos Ligeti--an interest spawned by several pieces of his  remarkable sculpture  as well as my meager knowledge of his life story.  (Oh to be able to read Hungarian!)  Returning to Budapest this year, I decided to track down his home--where he lived in Budapest.

This was not particularly easy, as there is little on the web about Ligeti,  But I eventually discovered that his house had been designed by the noted architects Zoltan Balint and Lajos Jambor. Following their history, I learned they had built a house and studio for Ligeti between 1899 and 1900 on Stefania ut 20,  The house is in a neighborhood where many other artists lived, east of the large park Varosliget and very near Odon Lechner's Geological Institute.  The picture above is a photograph of the villa taken sometime before World War II.

Ligeti's house is relatively modest: only two stories with an attached studio. He left it sometime during 1944 to enter the Budapest ghetto.  There is some talk of making it into a museum (put the website into google.translate.com to get a rough English translation), but it has deteriorated so much that may not be practical.  Currently, the house is behind a locked gate, and it appears to be occupied by squatters.  Here are some of the (depressing) pictures taken by pushing my camera through a whole in the fence.

The home is where the body lives: shelter, warmth, sustenance.  Ligeti's home was built to fit the particuar needs of a sculptor.  Wrenched from his home, Ligeti (like other victims of the Holocaust) must have felt deprived of the protection a home offers.  Ligeti's decaying house is the obverse of one of his most famous funereal monuments, the sculpure of a naked man, guided by an angel, entering the tomb, his final "home."

Ligeti himself had no tomb or final "home."  He disappeared in Budapest during the end of World War II.  His monument makes us aware of his absence: he has left his clothes, his hat, and his stick, but he is simply gone.