Szilágyi András (szerk.): Ars Decorativa 20. (Budapest, 2001)

Walter Crane and Hungary

WALTER CRANE AND HUNGARY A brief chronology of Walter Crane's career - containing the most important results only ­reports, as the most significant events of the year 1900, about the first publication of Line and Form and the "Visit in Hungary on the occasion of a Touring Exhibition". A really memorable stage of the latter was the exhibition and his inauguration on 14 th October - in presence of the artist and some members of his family - which had presented about six hundred pieces of the oeuvre and had been organised by the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts. A number of deep and sensible articles - sometimes full of enthusiasm - in the contemporary press reflect the considerable success of the exhibited works. For evaluating their resounding effect, a very precious con­temporary document is now at our disposal. At the beginning of the year Mr. Anthony Crane, the artist's grandson living in Bath (South­England), in his letter addressed to the director of our museum, offered one of the highly appreciat­ed documents being in his possession and inher­ited from his grandfather. He intended to present the visitors' book of the Budapest exhibition in 1900 as his personal gift to the institution which had presented a large collection of Walter Crane's works and co-ordinated the exhibition with sup­plementary events (journey of the invited artist in various regions of Hungary). Apart from having expressed our heartfelt thanks, we explained our wish: the receiving of the precious gift should make an intimate­ly solemn occasion. This way, we have decid­ed to organise a chamber exhibition present­ing a selected collection of Walter Crane's graphic works, which belong to our museum since 1900. The delivery of the visitors' book took place on the opening, when the invited experts taking part had a real revelation: On the pages of the visitors' book which sur­vived more than hundred years they could discern the remarks and signatures of person­alities like Károly Lyka, Kamill Fittler, Pál Majovszky (art collector), Mór Jókai among others. Three days later, the 26 th March 2001 we have organised a symposium entitled "Walter Crane reconsidered - focusing on his presence in Hungary and his influence on the Hungarian Art about 1900". The first and the second lec­tures were accompanied with extremely lively attention by the audience; the first one was taken by Anthony Crane with title "A grand­son's view of Walter Crane", it was followed by that of Susan Wilson, an initiated connoisseur of the artist's activity, entitled "Walter Crane in Budapest". The texts of the three further lec­tures are published on the next pages of this volume.