Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880-1920: Design for the Modern World


Of all the artists’ colonies inspired by the ideals of John Ruskin and William Morris, the one at Gödöllo, outside Budapest, came closest to fulfilling Arts and Crafts principles. Aladar Körösfoi-Kriesch, the leading figure at Gödöllo, wrote On Ruskin and the English Pre-Raphaelites, in which he outlined the role the artist should play in reforming society. Körösfoi-Kriesch and other founders of the Gödöllo colony strongly believed that making and using handcrafted folk objects would have a transforming power in people’s lives. Transylvania was the major design source for the artists at Gödöllo and designs for interiors reflected the search for a new national art.

Like the art colony at Darmstadt, Gödöllo was a full-scale Gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art. However, also like Darmstadt, it could exist only with government support. In this sheltered environment, rooted in peasant traditions, the community pursued the ideal of living in harmony with nature. The colony lifestyle—with its vegetarianism, reformed dress, nude bathing, and outdoor sleeping—appears radically unorthodox for the time, but the Gödöllo artists were never genuine outsiders to middle-class urban society.

- Wendy Kaplan (2005)