Architecture of the 1900s
Around 1900, European art and architecture make room for a series of innovative manifestations, representing secessionist movements in response to the seclusion of historicist or eclectic academicism, while at the same time, attempting to include local artisanal artistic valences. They started to develop in architecture, furniture and applied arts stylistic formulas depending on the geographic location (thus bearing distinct names: Art Nouveau, Secession, Jugendstil etc.) and also leading to the development of local furniture and decorative art schools. In the Romanian Principalities, the echo of this particular kind of movements is similar to the echo of romanticism, a fact to which they were familiar with, as well. Some of the regional stylistic versions extend, just like other imports, to architecture and applied arts. Thus one can delimit, both in the Old Kingdom, and mostly in Transylvania, an architecture with obvious Art Nouveau or Secession type aspects (of Austrian or Hungarian origins), sometimes more pure, other times grafted on a eclectic or academic frame. In the Kingdom, Art Nouveau is represented by buildings such as the Casino from Constanta (1907-1911, arch. Daniel Renard), the Casino from Sinaia (arch. Petre Antonescu) the old Athenee-Palace hotel (1910, arch. Daniel Renard), Orfeu shop from Bucharest (arch. Leonida Negrescu) etc. In larger numbers and the most typical Secession buildings, of Austrian or Hungarian influence (with remarkable local variances developing in Hungary), some of them being extremely special in value and scale, can be mostly found in Transylvania, Oradea, Tirgu-Mures, Timisoara etc., where architects such as Deszo Jakab and Marcel Komor (Vulturul Negru complex from Oradea, 1907-1910, the former city hall, and the Palace of Culture, 1013, Tirgu-Mures etc.), Kalman Rimanoczy – the son (Apollo Palace in Oradea, and many other buildings in Oradea), Sandor Baumgarten (Bolyai Farkas High School, 1908-1909, Tirgu-Mures), Jozsef and Laszlo Vago, Ferenc Lobl etc. designed a remarkable architecture of this particular style.
On the other hand, as in the case of romanticism, the spirit of the movement itself gives birth to specific local reactions, architectural endeavours which stimulate the discovery of original responses. That is the reason why some researchers consider that the genesis of the national quest can be found inside this phenomenon, and they even present them as the original Romanian version of 1900s Art. This position does not lack direction, because the stylistic pursuit of a national architecture (neo-Romanian architecture) are obviously connected both with the romantic impulse and the regionalist vocation of 1900s Art. However, by their scope and duration, and given the fact that they represented the first original architectural movement and with a coherent theoretical program in the modern Romanian architecture, they are worthy of occupying a unique position.