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My name is
David Brooker and I have worked with antique furniture since leaving
school way back in 1986 and have been dealing in Hungarian Art Deco
furniture since I moved here to Hungary almost 20 years ago in 2003. How
Over the years I have managed
to put together a large collection of Art Deco furniture, mostly
armchairs, with many more new pieces arriving every week.
Despite the language barrier I have managed
to build up an extensive base of trade contacts here so I am also able
lots of other beautiful pieces too including
bedroom furniture, dining room and living room furniture and pieces for
the office too. I have also worked with interior designers in the UK and
the US on commercial projects such as night clubs, bars, theatres and
the T.V. & film industry.
Over the years I have managed to put together a large collection of Art Deco furniture, mostly armchairs, with many more new pieces arriving every week. Despite the language barrier I have managed to build up an extensive base of trade contacts here so I am also able to source lots of other beautiful pieces too including bedroom furniture, dining room and living room furniture and pieces for the office too. I have also worked with interior designers in the UK and the US on commercial projects such as night clubs, bars, theatres and the T.V. & film industry.
|It has always been my aim to make buying my
furniture easy, smooth and reliable. I have worked with my courier here,
and sent pieces with them to the UK every week, for over 15 years. They
have proved to be extremely reliable, helpful and very careful with
every piece they have ever transported for me and every piece is
delivered to your door. There are no hidden extra costs (Free delivery
to the UK) and the buy now price is the price you pay with no extra
charges upon delivery, and since Brexit I pay the import charges here
before the furniture leaves.
I hope this helps with
any concerns you might have with buying furniture from Hungary and
please do check my feedback here and on ebay which is 100% and always
has been since I started in 2003 and if there is absolutely anything
else you would like to know at all then please please do not hesitate to
I am also able to offer a full restoration and
re-upholstery service for any of the armchairs you will find among my
items. I am a French polisher by trade and I do all the woodwork and
re-polishing myself before handing the armchairs to my upholsterer who
has worked beside me for over 15 years. My fabric supplier here has a
huge range of super quality upholstery fabrics to choose from and I can
email you some photos of her range to help you decide on colours etc. Or
you are more than welcome to post your own fabric to me here in Hungary
in case you would like to match your other furniture.
| The term 'Art Deco' was coined in 1966,
following a retrospective exhibition entitled 'Les Années '25', held at the
Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. This commemorated the 1925 Paris 'Exposition
Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes'. Originally
planned for 1915, but postponed on account of the First World War, the 1925
Exposition was distinctive from previous international exhibitions for two
reasons. For the first time, the decorative and applied arts held a centre
stage. The criteria for inclusion in the Exposition also emphasised the
modern, to the extent that well established decorative artists might be
excluded because they were seen as representative of a previous generation.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
Cubism style chair.
| The architecture and decorative arts shown at
the 1925 Exposition embodied a whole range of unconnected styles and sources,
including a modern interpretation of the style of Louis XVI (18th century),
seen as the golden era of the French decorative arts, and references to the
avant-garde art movements of the time, such as Cubism and the Bauhaus.
Diaghilev's 'Ballets Russes' and exotic and ancient cultures such as ancient
Egyptian (following the discovery of the Pyramid tombs) and Mayan
civilizations, the art of Japan and Africa, also had an impact on the style.
Not to be confused with Modernist art movements, with their social
philosophies and manifestos, Art Deco was purely decorative. A modern style,
responding to the machine and to new materials such as plastic, Art Deco in
its 1925 context was also sumptuous, a luxury style, characterised by
individually produced luxury goods for wealthy connoisseurs.
| The 1925 Exposition had a major influence on
the decorative arts in America. Although the United States was not
represented, many Americans visited the exhibition. In 1926 the Metropolitan
Museum of Art held a retrospective exhibition to which original contributors
were asked to send material. The American contribution to Art Deco is known
as Streamlining and is characterised by clean lines and strong curves. It
was applied to the design of cars, architecture and furniture. It was also
applied to new mass-produced goods such as refrigerators and radios. In
their attempt to reach new consumers from around 1930, manufacturers took
iconic elements of the Art Deco styles and simplified them for mass
production. Married to modern machine age materials such as bakelite and
chrome, this style heralded an era of 'modern' design for mass consumption
of affordable consumer goods.
A Brief History of Hungary.
Since its conversion to Western Christianity before AD 1000, Hungary has
been an integral part of Europe. Although Hungary was a monarchy for nearly
1,000 years, its constitutional system preceded by several centuries the
establishment of Western-style governments in other European countries.
Following the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy (1867-1918) at
the end of World War I, Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory and nearly
as much of its population. It experienced a brief but bloody communist
dictatorship and counterrevolution in 1919, followed by a 25-year regency
under Adm. Miklos Horthy. Although Hungary fought in most of World War II as
a German ally, it fell under German military occupation following an
unsuccessful attempt to switch sides on October 15,1944. In January 1945, a
provisional government concluded an armistice with the Soviet Union and
established the Allied Control Commission, under which Soviet, American, and
British representatives held complete sovereignty over the country. The
Commission's chairman was a member of Stalin's inner circle and exercised
The provisional government, dominated by the Hungarian Communist Party (MKP), was replaced in November 1945 after elections which gave majority control of a coalition government to the Independent Smallholders' Party. The government instituted a radical land reform and gradually nationalized mines, electric plants, heavy industries, and some large banks. The communists ultimately undermined the coalition regime by discrediting leaders of rival parties and through terror, blackmail, and framed trials. In elections tainted by fraud in 1947, the leftist bloc gained control of the government. Postwar cooperation between the U.S.S.R. and the West collapsed, and the Cold War began. With Soviet support, Moscow-trained Matyas Rakosi began to establish a communist dictatorship.
By February 1949, all opposition parties had been forced to merge with the MKP to form the Hungarian Workers' Party. In 1949, the communists held a single-list election and adopted a Soviet-style constitution which created the Hungarian People's Republic. Rakosi became Prime Minister in 1952. Between 1948 and 1953, the Hungarian economy was reorganized according to the Soviet model. In 1949, the country joined the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA, or Comecon), a Soviet-bloc economic organization. All private industrial firms with more than 10 employees were nationalized. Freedom of the press, religion, and assembly were strictly curtailed. The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Forced industrialization and land collectivization soon led to serious economic difficulties, which reached crisis proportions by mid-1953, the year Stalin died. The new Soviet leaders blamed Rakosi for Hungary's economic situation and began a more flexible policy called the "New Course." Imre Nagy replaced Rakosi as prime minister in 1953 and repudiated much of Rakosi's economic program of forced collectivization and heavy industry. He also ended political purges and freed thousands of political prisoners. However, the economic situation continued to deteriorate, and Rakosi succeeded in disrupting the reforms and in forcing Nagy from power in 1955 for "right-wing revisionism." Hungary joined the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact Treaty Organization the same year. Rakosi's attempt to restore Stalinist orthodoxy then foundered as increasing opposition developed within the party and among students and other organizations after Khrushchev's 1956 denunciation of Stalin. Fearing revolution, Moscow replaced Rakosi with his deputy, Erno Gero, in order to contain growing ideological and political ferment.
Pressure for change reached a climax on October 23, 1956, when security forces fired on Budapest students marching in support of Poland's confrontation with the Soviet Union. The ensuing battle quickly grew into a massive popular uprising. Gero called on Soviet troops to restore order on October 24. Fighting did not abate until the Central Committee named Imre Nagy as prime minister on October 25, and the next day Janos Kadar replaced Gero as party first secretary. Nagy dissolved the state security police, abolished the one-party system, promised free elections, and negotiated with the U.S.S.R. to withdraw its troops. Faced with reports of new Soviet troops pouring into Hungary despite Soviet Ambassador Andropov's assurances to the contrary, on November 1 Nagy announced Hungary's neutrality and withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact. He appealed to the United Nations and the Western powers for protection of its neutrality. Preoccupied with the Suez Crisis, the UN and the West failed to respond, and the Soviet Union launched a massive military attack on Hungary on November 3. Some 200,000 Hungarians fled to the West. Nagy and his colleagues took refuge in the Yugoslav Embassy. Kadar, after delivering an impassioned radio address on November 1 in support of "our glorious revolution" and vowing to fight the Russians with his bare hands if they attacked Hungary, defected from the Nagy cabinet; he fled to the Soviet Union and on November 4 announced the formation of a new government. He returned to Budapest and, with Soviet support, carried out severe reprisals; thousands of people were executed or imprisoned. Despite a guarantee of safe conduct, Nagy was arrested and deported to Romania. In June 1958, the government announced that Nagy and other former officials had been executed.
Reform Under Kadar
In the early 1960s, Kadar announced a new policy under the motto of "He who is not against us is with us." He declared a general amnesty, gradually curbed some of the excesses of the secret police, and introduced a relatively liberal cultural and economic course aimed at overcoming the post-1956 hostility toward him and his regime. In 1966, the Central Committee approved the "New Economic Mechanism," through which it sought to overcome the inefficiencies of central planning, increase productivity, make Hungary more competitive in world markets, and create prosperity to ensure political stability. However, the reform was not as comprehensive as planned, and basic flaws of central planning produced economic stagnation. Over the next two decades of relative domestic quiet, Kadar's government responded to pressure for political and economic reform and to counterpressures from reform opponents, By the early 1980s, it had achieved some lasting economic reforms and limited political liberalization and pursued a foreign policy which encouraged more trade with the West. Nevertheless, the New Economic Mechanism led to mounting foreign debt incurred to share up unprofitable industries.
Transition to Democracy
Hungary's transition to a Western-style parliamentary democracy was the first and the smoothest among the former Soviet bloc, inspired by a nationalism that long had encouraged Hungarians to control their own destiny. By 1987, activists within the party and bureaucracy and Budapest-based intellectuals were increasing pressure for change. Some of these became reform socialists, while others began movements which were to develop into parties. Young liberals formed the Federation of Young Democrats (Fidesz); a core from the so-called Democratic Opposition formed the Association of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), and the neopopulist national opposition established the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). Civic activism intensified to a level not seen since the 1956 revolution.
In 1988, Kadar was replaced as General Secretary of the Communist Party, and reform communist leader Imre Pozsgay was admitted to the Politburo. That same year, the Parliament adopted a "democracy package," which included trade union pluralism; freedom of association, assembly, and the press; a new electoral law; and a radical revision of the constitution, among others. A Central Committee plenum in February 1989 endorsed in principle the multiparty political system and the characterization of the October 1956 revolution as a "popular uprising," in the words of Pozsgay, whose reform movement had been gathering strength as Communist Party membership declined dramatically. Kadar's major political rivals then cooperated to move the country gradually to democracy. The Soviet Union reduced its involvement by signing an agreement in April 1989 to withdraw Soviet forces by June 1991.
National unity culminated in June 1989 as the country reburied Imre Nagy, his associates, and, symbolically, all other victims of the 1956 revolution. A national roundtable, comprising representatives of the new parties and some recreated old parties--such as the Smallholders and Social Democrats--the Communist Party, and different social groups, met in the late summer of 1989 to discuss major changes to the Hungarian constitution in preparation for free elections and the transition to a fully free and democratic political system.
In October 1989, the communist party convened its last congress and re-established itself as the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP). In a historic session an October 16-20, 1989, the Parliament adopted legislation providing for multiparty parliamentary elections and a direct presidential election. The legislation transformed Hungary from a people's republic into the Republic of Hungary, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensures separation of powers among the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of government. But because the national roundtable agreement was the result of a compromise between communist and noncommunist parties and societal forces, the revised constitution still retained vestiges of the old order. It championed the "values of bourgeois democracy and democratic socialism" and gave equal status to public and private property. Such provisions were erased in 1990 as the need for compromise solutions was obviated by the poor performance of the MSZP in the first free elections.
Free Elections and a Democratic Hungary
The first free parliamentary election, held in May 1990, was a plebiscite of sorts on the communist past. The revitalized and reformed communists performed poorly despite having more than the usual advantages of an "incumbent" party. Populist, center-right, and liberal parties fared best, with the Democratic Forum (MDF) winning 43% of the vote and the Free Democrats (SZDSZ) capturing 24%. Under Prime Minister Jozsef Antall, the MDF formed a center-right coalition government with the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKGP) and the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) to command a 60% majority in the parliament. Parliamentary opposition parties included SZDSZ, the Socialists (MSZP), and the Alliance of Young Democrats (Fidesz). Peter Boross succeeded as Prime Minister after Antall died in December 1993. Thc Antall/Boross coalition governments achieved a reasonably well-functioning parliamentary democracy and laid the foundation for a free market economy.
In May 1994, the socialists came back to win a plurality of votes and 54% of the seats after an election campaign focused largely on economic issues and the substantial decline in living standards since 1990. A heavy turnout of voters swept away the right-of-center coalition but soundly rejected extremists on both right and left. Despite its neocommunist pedigree, the MSZP continued economic reforms and privatization, adopting a painful but necessary policy of fiscal austerity (the "Bokros plan") in 1995. The government pursued a foreign policy of integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions and reconciliation with neighboring countries. But neither an invitation to join NATO nor improving economic indicators guaranteed the MSZP's re-election; dissatisfaction with the pace of economic recovery, rising crime, and cases of government corruption convinced voters to propel center-right parties into power following national elections in May 1998. The Federation of Young Democrats (renamed Fidcsz-Hungarian Civic Party (MPP) in 1995) captured a plurality of parliamentary seats and forged a coalition with the Smallholders and the Democratic Forum. The new government, headed by 35-year-old Prime Minister Viktor Orban, promised to stimulate faster growth, curb inflation, and lower taxes. Although the Orban administration also pledged continuity in foreign policy, and has continued to pursue Euro-Atlantic integration as its first priority, it has been a more vocal advocate of minority rights for ethnic Hungarians abroad than the previous government.