The merchant Miklós Zsolnay founded a small ceramics factory in Pécs in Hungary in 1853. He couldn’t have imagined that by the turn of the 20th century ceramic architectural details marked with his name would adorn the finest Secession buildings of Budapest in its aspirations to became a major metropolis, or that his family company would be famous in Austro-Hungary and throughout Europe.
The incredible success involved determination, foresight and hard work of several generations of Zsolnays, as well as dedication to refinement and design true of its time, collaborations with other acclaimed artists and architects, and constantly seeking new technologies. Their most notable invention was the introduction of the eosin glazing process, giving their stoneware a distinctive metallic sheen. Artistic ceramics, terracotta and tiles from Pécs were a huge hit at world's fairs around the globe. The Zsolnay family empire blossomed during the art nouveau period, culminating with being awarded gold and silver medals during the Paris exhibition in 1900, with particular praise given to a series with a tulip motif maintained in the fin de siècle style.
The exhibition Zsolnay. Hungarian Art Nouveau at the International Cultural Centre presents over 100 exhibits. Decorative objects, sketches and architectural drawings originate from the Janus Pannonius Múzeum holding the family collections. (Dorota Dziunikowska, “Karnet” monthly)