by Jeffrey Taylor, Assistant Professor of Arts Management, Purchase College, State University of New York
This important work by American historian Jeffrey Taylor, who spent the last two decades in Hungary and earned his PhD at Central European University in Budapest, serves to detail the nineteenth century origin of the art market in a Central European nation as its economy was shifting from total dependence on agriculture to a mixed industrial/agricultural model during the Industrial Revolution. The creation of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1867 provided Hungary with a measure of equality with Austria, initiating a period when the social and cultural development of Hungary and its newly emerging professional and merchant classes provided a new marketplace,which while bourgeois in nature nevertheless brought “art” to a greater portion of the population. Taylor provides us with a fascinating history beginning in eighteen-hundred of the art market of Hungary, of the rise of modernism and its conflict with traditional elements. This book is a valuable addition to the history of European art of the 19th century and one which gives us an insight into the commercial aspects of the art marketplace which have not been explored by previous scholars.
The art market of Hungary began in Pest ( Buda and Pest were not joined into one city until 1873) around 1800 in the shops of booksellers who also dealt in maps, sheet music, and prints. The sale of paintings first began to appear in the form of the Pest Art Union, and then in the Kunsthalle model. By the late 19th century, however, the art market operated in a salon system which proved incapable of absorbing the rapidly expanding capacity of artist production. The population of artists in Budapest grew at a rate of approximately 7% a year in the last four decades preceding World War I. The vast over-production of artists and artworks produced a mad scramble for new retailing models as alternative salons, private galleries, studio exhibitions, salon des refusés, one-man shows, and groupings with aesthetic agendas all competed for the public’s attention. Secessions followed upon secessions, and the art politics of the period divided in to three camps, only one of which was Modernist in orientation, and they increasingly found themselves losing control of institutions to a stylistically stagnant, egalitarian-oriented artist proletariat. Therefore, by the early 20th century the more progressively-inclined artists began to turn towards the new commercial gallery models as the most successful venue for their work.
Translated from the original French by Lovice Maria Ullein-Reviczky Introduction by Tibor Frank
The book contains the wartime memoirs of Antal Ullein-Reviczky, first published in French in 1947 in Switzerland as Guerre allemande, paix russe. Le drame hongrois. This is the first English edition of his book, translated from the French original by Lovice Mária Ullein-Reviczky. His memoir is an invaluable source about Hungary’s fate in World War II. Ullein-Reviczky’s work was based partly on the public and private documents he succeeded in saving throughout the war and his long years of exile in Turkey, Switzerland, France, and Britain where he died. Written by a well-informed insider and a shrewd observer, this book remained essentially unknown in the English-speaking world. Antal Ullein-Reviczky s memoirs represent an important source of the history of Hungary from German war through Russian peace.
Veronika Durin-Hornyik: Université Paris-Est, France“The Free Europe University in Exile, Inc. and the Collège de l’ Europe libre (1951-1958)”
Tibor Frank: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary“Imre Kovács and Cold War Émigré Politics in the United States”
Katalin Kádár Lynn: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary“At War While at Peace: The History of the National Committee for a Free Europe” “History of the Hungarian National Council 1946-1971”
Maria Kokoncheva: Altborg University, Denmark“George Dimitrov and the Bulgarian National Council”
Jonathan H. L’Hommedieu: Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia, USA“The Baltic Freedom Committees: Policies and Politics of an Exile Community”
Anna Mazurkiewicz: University of Gdansk, Poland“The Assembly of Captive European Nations and the Free Europe Committee in the face of Nikita Khrushchev’s US Visits in 1959 & 1960” “The Schism within the Polish Delegation to the Assembly of Captive European Nations (1954-1972)”
Marius Petraru: Sacramento State University, American River College, California, USA“The Romanian Government In Exile in the United States: 1947-1975”
Francis Raska: Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic“History of the Council of Free Czechoslovakia”
Toby Charles Rider: Pennsylvania State University, Berks Campus, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA“The Cold War Activities of the Hungarian National Sports Federation”
Each of the essays in this volume focuses on an organization or activity funded through the National Committee for a Free Europe, Inc. (NCFE was known as the Free Europe Committee, Inc. after 5 March 1954) during the war of ideas and ideals in which the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged that came to be known as the Cold War. This US government sponsored organization existed between 1949 and 1971 and was but one aspect of United States policy arising from the policy of containment and an aggressive stance against Soviet Expansionism. Archival information on the NCFE offers a rich source of information that has not yet been thoroughly mined by scholars. The NCFE’s original charge, as outlined in 3 May 1948 by George Kennan to the National Security Council in a policy paper titled “The Inauguration of Organized Political Warfare”, was to wage “organized political warfare” which became the ideological basis for US policy during the Cold War. In large part this effort involved the U.S.-based exiles from the nations of Central and East Europe that had become Soviet satellites after World War II. The NCFE organization was developed and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of Policy Coordination. The first chairman of NCFE’s Executive Committee was Allen W. Dulles, and it was operated and funded covertly through American intelligence channels throughout its twenty-two year existence as an ostensibly private, not for profit entity funded by donations from the American public.
Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty are the two most well known divisions of NCFE, with RFE having the highest profile. As the two radio divisions’ archival records were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University in 2000, those divisions have been the focus of most NCFE-related scholarship. Additional archival material documents the much wider range of Cold War activities which the NCFE established, sponsored and funded, but until now, these have received little attention and research on the non-radio aspects of its operation has been minimal—due in part to the fact that, as of this writing, a portion of the primary archival material relating to the parent organization remains classified. Despite this challenge, each of this book’s contributors has successfully researched an activity or organization sponsored by the NCFE or its later incarnation the FEC or Free Europe, Inc.
Of primary interest to scholars will be the histories of the Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Polish and Baltic States national councils or committees, which represented the U.S.-based exile leadership of those satellite nations. These nationalities’ groups and their leaders were intended by the NCFE’s founders to lead the propaganda battle against the growth of world-wide communism. Kennan outlined the mission of the NCFE and the nationalities committees in the following manner “encourage the formation of a public American organization which will sponsor selected refugee committees so that they may act as the focus of national hope and revive a sense of purpose among political refugees from the Soviet World; provide an inspiration for continuing popular resistance within the countries of the Soviet World; and serve as a potential nucleus for all –out liberation movements in the event of war.” The nationalities committees were provided with operational funding for their domestic and international offices, publications and activities as well as funds for salaries to their leadership. However, NCFE sponsorship was not limited to these groups, its organizations numbered well over one hundred and circled the globe, represented not just in the United States but in Europe, Latin America and Asia as well. The major sponsored organizations ranged from the Assembly of Captive European Nations, the Free European University in Exile, the Crusade for Freedom, and the International Peasant Union to various propaganda programs including those that sponsored cultural and sports activities and organizations. The history of the Assembly of Captive European Nations and that of the Free Europe University in Exile, Inc. are addressed in this volume.
The NCFE and its Cold War campaign of “organized political warfare” activities remains one of the last aspects of U.S. Cold War policy that has not been thoroughly researched, and Cold War scholarship will not be complete until this history is made available. This volume takes the first step in that direction but there is still much more material that is to be uncovered.